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1892, 192,8 






AH rights reserved no part of this 

book may be reproduced in any form 

without permission in writing from 

the publisher. 

Set up and electrotyped. Published April, 1930. 


THE present volume forms the second and 
concluding part of a biography^ the first 
part being The Early Life of Thomas Hardy y 
published in 1928. 





THE RECEPTION OF THE BOOK, 1892: Aet. 5l~52 . . 3 



1894-1895: Aet. 53-55 28 


1896-1897: Aet. 55-57 46 



Aet. 57-58 65 


"WESSEX POEMS" AND OTHERS, 1899-1900: Aet. 58-60 76 





1901-1903 : Aet. 60-63 .88 

PART FIRST OF "THE DYNASTS ", 1904-1905 : Aet. 63-65 1 03 



65-67 117 







67-69 131 

THE FREEDOM OF THE BOROUGH, 1910 I Aet. 69-70 - 14! 

BEREAVEMENT, 1911-1912 : Aet. 70-72 . . . . 148 



1913-1914:^.72-74. ..... 156 


OF VISION", 1915-1917; Aet. 74-77 . . , 167 





REFLECTIONS ON POETRY, 1918: Aet. 77-78 . . . 183 


1919 : Aet. 78-79 189 


TION; A CONTROVERSY, 1920: Aet. 79-80 . . 201 

SOME FAREWELLS, 1921-1925 : Aet. 80-85 . . . 221 

THE LAST SCENE ........ 246 

APPENDIX I ......... 267 

APPENDIX II ......... 269 


INDEX .......... 279 


Thomas Hardy, 1919. From a drawing by William 

Strang, R.A., in the National Portrait Gallery Frontispiece 

Thomas Hardy's Study about 1900. From a photo- 
graph by the Rev. T. Perkins .... Facing 76 

Thomas Hardy, aged 60. From a photograph by 

the Rev. T. Perkins "90 

Thomas Hardy, c. 1908. From a photograph by 

Walter Barnett " 132 

Thomas Hardy, 1913. From a photograph by Olive 

Edis "156 

Mrs. Hardy, 1918. From a drawing by William 

Strang, R.A. 160 

Mr. and Mrs. Hardy at Max Gate, 1914. From a 

photograph by E. O. Hopp6 . . . . " 167 

Max Gate. View from the lawn, 1919. - . . " 192 

Thomas Hardy, aged 80. From a photograph by 

Walter Thomas " 202 

"I Sometimes Think." Facsimile reproduction from 

page of original MS. of Late Lyrics and Earlier . " 225 

"He resolves to say no more." Facsimile reproduction 
from page of original MS. of Winter Words. 
Written 1927 " 262 

Entrance to Stinsford Churchyard " 268 



1892: Aet. 51-52 

As Tess of the d'Urbervilles got into general circulation it 
attracted an attention that Hardy had apparently not fore- 
seen, for at the time of its publication he was planning 
something of quite a different kind, according to an entry 
he made : 

"Title: * Songs of Five-and-Twenty Years'. Ar- 
rangement of the songs : Lyric Ecstasy inspired by music 
to have precedence." 

However, reviews, letters, and other intelligence 
speedily called him from these casual thoughts back to the 
novel, which the tediousness of the alterations and restora- 
tions had made him weary of. From the prefaces to later 
editions can be gathered more or less clearly what hap- 
pened to the book as, passing into great popularity, an 
endeavour was made by some critics to change it to scan- 
dalous notoriety the latter kind of clamour, raised by a 
certain small section of the public and the press, being 
quite inexplicable to the writer himself. 

Among other curious results from the publication of 
the book was that it started a rumour of Hardy's theo- 
logical beliefs, which lived, and spread, and grew, so that 
it was never completely extinguished. Near the end of 
the story he had used the sentence, "The President of 
the Immortals had finished his sport with Tess", and the 
first five words were, as Hardy often explained to his 



reviewers, but a literal translation of Aesch. Prom. 169 : 
MdKaptov irpvravLs. The classical sense in which he had 
used them is best shown by quoting a reply he wrote thirty 
years later to some unknown critic who had said in an 
article : 

"Hardy postulates an all-powerful being endowed with 
the baser human passions, who turns everything to evil 
and rejoices in the mischief he has wrought;" another 
critic taking up the tale by adding : "To him evil is not so 
much a mystery, a problem, as the wilful malice of his 

Hardy's reply was written down but (it is believed), as 
in so many cases with him, never posted ; though I am 
able to give it from the rough draft : 

"As I need hardly inform any thinking reader, I do 
not hold, and never have held, the ludicrous opinions here 
assumed to be mine which are really, or approximately, 
those of the primitive believer in his man-shaped tribal 
god. And in seeking to ascertain how any exponent of 
English literature could have supposed that I held them 
I find that the writer of the estimate has harked back to a 
passage in a novel of mine, printed many years ago, in 
which the forces opposed to the heroine were allegorized 
as a personality (a method not unusual in imaginative 
prose or poetry) by the use of a well-known trope, ex- 
plained in that venerable work, Campbell 's Philosophy of 
Rhetoric y as "one in which life, perception, activity, design, 
passion, or any property of sentient beings, is attributed 
to things inanimate 1 . 

"Under this species of criticism if an author were to 
say ' Aeolus maliciously tugged at her garments, and tore 
her hair in his wrath', the sapient critic would no doubt 
announce that author's evil creed to be that the wind is *a 
powerful being endowed with the baser human passions', 
etc., etc. 

"However, I must put up with it, and say as Parrha- 


sius of Ephesus said about his pictures : There is nothing 
that men will not find fault with/' 

deep impression produced on the general and un- 
critical public by the story was the occasion of Hardy *s 
receiving strange letters some from husbands whose 
experiences had borne a resemblance to that of Angel 
Clare, though more, many more, from wives with a past 
like that of Tess, but who had not told their husbands, and 
asking for his counsel under the burden of their conceal- 
mentj| Some of these were educated women of good posi- 
tion, and Hardy used to say the singular thing was that 
they should have put themselves in the power of a stranger 
by these revelations (their names having often been given, 
though sometimes initials at a post-office only), when they 
would not trust persons nearest to them with their secret. 
However, they did themselves no harm, he would add, 
for though he was unable to advise them, he carefully 
destroyed their letters, and never mentioned their names, 
or suspected names, to a living soul. He owed them that 
much, he said, for their trust in his good faith. A few, 
too, begged that he would meet them privately, or call on 
them, and hear their story instead of their writing it. He 
talked the matter over with his friend, Sir Francis Jeune, 
who had had abundant experience of the like things in 
the Divorce Court, where he presided, and who recom- 
mended him not to meet the writers alone, in case they 
should not be genuine. He himself, he said, also got such 
letters, but made it a rule never to notice them. Nor did 
Hardy, though he sometimes sadly thought that they 

came from sincere women in trouble. * 

. -^ 

Tess of the d* Urbermlles was also the cause of Hardy -s 
meeting a good many people of every rank during that 
spring, summer, and onwards, and of opportunity for 
meeting a good many more if he had chosen to avail him- 
self of it. Many of the details that follow concerning his 


adventures in the world of fashion at dinner-parties, 
crushes, and other social functions, which Hardy himself 
did not think worth recording, have been obtained from 
diaries kept by the late Mrs. Hardy. 

It must be repeated that his own notes on these meet- 
ings were set down by him as private memoranda only ; 
and that they, or some of them, are reproduced here to 
illustrate what contrasting planes of existence he moved 
in vibrating at a swing between the artificial gaieties of 
a London season and the quaintnesses of a primitive 
rustic life, 

^Society remarks on Tess were curious and humorous. 
Strangely enough Lord Salisbury, with whom Hardy had 
a slight acquaintance, was a supporter of the story. Also : 
"The Duchess of Abercorn tells me that the novel has 
saved her all future trouble in the assortment of her 
friends. They have been almost fighting across her din- 
ner-table over Tess's character. What she now says to 
them is 'Do you support her or not? ? If they say *No 
indeed. She deserved hanging. A little harlot F she puts 
them in one group. If they say * Poor wronged innocent ! * 
and pity her, she puts them in the other group where she 
is herself." He was discussing the question thus with an- 
other noble dame who sat next him at a large dinner-party, 
when they waxed so contentious that they were startled 
to find the whole table of two-and- twenty silent, listen- 
ing to their theories on this vexed question. And a well- 
known beauty and statesman's wife, also present, 
snapped out at him : "Hanged ? They ought all to have 
been hanged !^ 

"Took Arthur Balfour's sister in to dinner at the 
Jeunes'* Liked her frank, sensible, womanly way of 
talking. The reviews have made me shy of presenting 
copies of Tess, and I told her plainly that if I gave her one 
it might be the means of getting me into hot water with 
hen She said: 'Now don't I really look old enough to 


read any novel with safety by this time !' Some of the 
best women don't marry perhaps wisely. " 

"April 10. Leslie Ward, in illustration of the calami- 
ties of artists, tells me of a lady's portrait, life-size, he has 
on his hands, that he was requested by her husband to 
paint. When he had just completed the picture she eloped 
with a noble earl, whereupon her husband wrote to say he 
did not want the painting, and Ward 's labour was wasted, 
there being no contract. The end of the story was that the 
husband divorced her, and, like Edith in Browning's 'Too 
Late', she * married the other', and brought him a son 
and heir. At a dinner the very same evening the lady who 
was my neighbour at the table told me that her husband 
was counsel in the case, which was hurried through, that 
the decree might be made absolute and the re-marriage 
take place before the baby was born." 

"n. In the evening with Sir F. and Lady J. to the 
Gaiety Theatre tohear Lottie Collins in her song 'Ta-ra-ra '. 
A rather striking tune and performance, to foolish words." 

"15. Good Friday. Read review of Tess in The 
Quarterly. A smart and amusing article ; but it is easy to 
be smart and amusing if a man will forgo veracity and 
sincerity. . * . How strange that one may write a book 
without knowing what one puts into it or rather, the 
reader reads into it. Well, if this sort of thing continues 
no more novel-writing for me. A man must be a fool to 
deliberately stand up to be shot at." 

Moreover, the repute of the book was spreading not 
only through England, and America, and the Colonies, 
but through the European Continent and Asia ; and dur- 
ing this year translations appeared in various languages, 
its publication in Russia exciting great interest. On the 
other hand, some local libraries in English-speaking coun- 
tries "suppressed" the novel with what effect was not 
ascertained. Hardy's good-natured friends, Henry James 
and R. L. Stevenson (whom he afterwards called the 


Polonius and the Osric of novelists), corresponded about 
it in this vein: "Oh, yes, dear Louis: *Tess of the 
d'Urbervilles* is vile. The pretence of sexuality is only 
equalled by the absence of it.[ ?], and the abomination 
of the language by the author's reputation for style/" 
(Letters of Henry James.) 

"16. Dr. Walter Lock, Warden of Keble, Oxford, 
called. Tess, he said, *is the Agamemnon without the 
remainder of the Oresteian trilogy/ This is inexact, but 
suggestive as to how people think. 

"Am glad I have got back from London and all those 
dinners : London, that hot-plate of humanity, on which 
we first sing, then simmer, then boil, then dry away to 
dust and ashes !" 

"Easter Sunday. Was told a story of a handsome 
country-girl. Her lover, though on the point of matrimony 
with her, would not perform it because of the temper 
shown by her when they went to buy the corner-cupboard 
and tea-things, her insistence on a different pattern, and 
so on. Their child was born illegitimate. Leaving the 
child at home she went to Jersey, for this reason, that a 
fellow village girl had gone there, married, and died ; and 
the other thought that by going and introducing herself 
to the widower as his late wife's playmate and friend from 
childhood he would be interested in her and marry her 
too. She carried this out, and he did marry her. But her 
temper was so bad that he would not live with her ; and 
she went on the streets. On her voyage home she died of 
disease she had contracted, and was thrown into the sea 
some say before she was quite dead. Query: What 
became of the baby ?" 

He notes that on the 27th of the month, his father, 
away in the country, "went upstairs for the last time". 
On the 3 1st he received a letter from his sister Mary on 
their father *s illness, saying that it being of a mild linger- 
ing kind there was no immediate hurry for his return, and 


hence he dined with Lady Malmesbury on his birthday, 
June 2nd, in fulfilment of a three weeks' engagement, 
before returning to Dorchester* This, however, he did 
the next day, arriving at his house just when his brother 
had come to fetch him. 

He found his father much changed ; and yet he rallied 
for some weeks onward. 

In the town one day Hardy passed by chance the tent 
just erected for Sanger's Circus, when the procession was 
about to start. "Saw the Queen climb up on her lofty 
gilt-and-crimson throne by a step-ladder. Then the 
various nations personified climbed up on theirs. They, 
being men, mounted anyhow, 'No swearin* !' being said 
to them as a caution. The Queen, seated in her chair on 
the terrestrial globe, adjusts her crimson and white robes 
over her soiled satin shoes for the start, and looks around 
on Hayne's trees, the church-tower, and Egdon Heath in 
the distance. As she passes along the South-walk Road 
she is obliged to duck her head to avoid the chestnut 
boughs tearing off her crown. 

"June 26. Considered methods for the Napoleon 
drama. Forces; emotions, tendencies. The characters 
do not act under the influence of reason." 

"July i. We don't always remember as we should 
that in getting at the truth, we get only at the true nature 
of the impression that an object, etc., produces on us, the 
true thing in itself being still, as Kant shows, beyond our 

"The art of observation (during travel, etc.) consists 
in this : the seeing of great things in little things, the 
whole in the part even the infinitesimal part. For 
instance, you are abroad : you see an English flag on a 
ship-mast from the window of your hotel: you realize the 
English navy. Or, at home, in a soldier you see the 
British Army, in a bishop at your club, the Church of 
England ; and in a steam hooter you hear Industry. - 


He was paying almost daily visits to his father at this 
time. On the igth his brother told him the patient was 
no worse, so he did not go that day. But on the 2oth 
Crocker , one of his brother's men, came to say that their 
father had died quietly that afternoon in the house in 
which he was born. Thus, in spite of his endeavours, 
Hardy had not been present. 

Almost the last thing his father had asked for was 
water fresh drawn from the well which was brought and 
given him; he tasted it and said, "Yes that's our well- 
water. Now I know I am at home*'. 

Hardy frequently stated in after years that the char- 
acter of Horatio in Hamlet was his father's to a nicety, 
and in Hardy's copy of that play his father's name and 
the date of his death are written opposite the following 

lines : 

"Thou hast been 

As one in suffering all that suffers nothing; 
A man that fortune's buffets and rewards 
Hast ta'en with equal thanks." 

He was buried close to his father and mother, and 
near the Knights of various dates in the seventeenth and 
eighteenth centuries, with whom the Hardys had been 

"August 14. Mother described to-day the three 
Hardys as they used to appear passing over the brow of 
the hill to Stinsford Church on a Sunday morning, three 
or four years before my birth. They were always hurry- 
ing, being rather late, their fiddles and violoncello in 
green-baize bags under their left arms. They wore top 
hats, stick-up shirt-collars, dark blue coats with great 
collars and gilt buttons, deep cuffs and black silk 'stocks' 
or neckerchiefs. Had curly hair, and carried their heads 
to one side as they walked. My grandfather wore drab 
cloth breeches and buckled shoes, but his sons wore 
trousers and Wellington boots/- 


In August they received at Max Gate a long-promised 
visit from Sir Arthur Blomfield, who had taken a house a 
few miles off for a month or two. Contrary to Hardy's 
expectations Blomfield liked the design of the Max Gate 
house. The visit was a very pleasant one,, abounding in 
reminiscences of 8 Adelphi Terrace, and included a drive 
to "Weatherbury" (Puddletown) Church and an exam- 
ination of its architecture. 

"August 31. My mother says she looks at the furniture 
and feels she is nothing to it. All those belonging to it, 
and the place, are gone, and i t is left in her hands, a stranger. 
(She has, however, lived there these fifty-three years !)" 

''August. I hear of a girl of Maiden Newton who was 
shod by contract like a horse, at so much a year." 

"September 4. There is a curious Dorset expression 
* tankard-legged'. This style of leg seems to have its 
biggest end downwards, and I have certainly seen legs of 
that sort. My mother says that my Irish ancestress had 
them, the accomplished lady who is reputed to have read 
the Bible through seven times ; though how my mother 
should know what the legs of her husband's great-great- 
grandmother were like I cannot tell/' 

"Among the many stories of spell- working that I have 
been told, the following is one of how it was done by two 
girls about 1830. They killed a pigeon, stuck its heart 
full of pins, made a tripod of three knitting needles, and 
suspended the heart on them over a lamp, murmuring an 
incantation while it roasted, and using the name of the 
young man in whom one or both were interested. The 
said young man felt racking pains about the region of the 
heart, and suspecting something went to the constables. 
The girls were sent to prison/' 

This month they attended a Field-Club meeting at 

Swanage, and were introduced to "old Mr. B , c the 

King of Swanage'. He had a good profile, but was rougher 
in speech than I should have expected after his years of 


London being the ordinary type of Dorset man, self- 
made by trade,, whenever one of the county does self-make 
himself, which is not often. . * . Met Dr. Yeatman, the 
Bishop of Southwark [after of Worcester]. He says the 
Endicotts [Mrs. J. Chamberlain's ancestors] are a Dorset 

'September 17. Stinsford House burnt. Discovered 
it to be on fire when driving home from Dorchester with 
E. I left the carriage and ran across the meads. She 
drove on, having promised to dine at Canon R. Smith's. 
I could soon see that the old mansion was doomed, 
though there was not a breath of wind. Coppery flames 
were visible in the sun through the trees of the park, and 
a few figures in shirt-sleeves on the roof. Furniture on 
the lawn : several servants perspiring and crying. Men 
battering out windows to get out the things a bruising 
of tender memories for me. I worked in carrying books 
and other articles to the vicarage. When it grew dark 
the flames entered the drawing and dining rooms, light- 
ing up the chambers of so much romance. The delicate 
tones of the wall-painting seemed pleased at the illumina- 
tion at first, till the inside of the rooms became one 
roaring oven ; and then the ceiling fell, and then the 
roof, sending a fountain of sparks from the old oak into 
the sky. 

"Met Mary in the churchyard, who had been laying 
flowers on Father's grave, on which the firelight now 

"Walked to Canon Smith's dinner-party just as I was, 
it being too late to change, E. had preceded me there, 
since I did not arrive until nine. Dinner disorganized 
and pushed back between one and two hours, they having 
been to the fire. Met Bosworth Smith [Harrow master] 
who had taken E. to the fire, though I saw neither of 
them. Late home. 

"I am sorry for the house. It was where Lady Susan 



Strangways, afterwards Lady Susan O'Brien, lived so 
many years with her actor-husband, after the famous 
elopement in 1764, so excellently described in Walpole's 
Letters, Mary Frampton's Journal, etc. 

"As stated, she knew my grandfather well, and he 
carefully heeded her tearful instructions to build the 
vault for her husband and later herself, 'just large enough 
for us two*. Walpole's satire on her romantic choice 
that *a footman were preferable' would have missed 
fire somewhat if tested by time. 

"My father when a boy-chorister in the gallery of the 
church used to see her, an old and lonely widow, walking 
in the garden in a red cloak." 

" End of September. In London. This is the time to 
realize London as an old city, all the pulsing excitements 
of May being absent. 

"Drove home from dining with Mcllvaine at the Cafe 
Royal, behind a horse who had no interest in me, was 
going a way he had no interest in going, and was whipped 
on by a man who had no interest in me, or the horse, or 
the way. Amid this string of compulsions reached home." 

"October. At Great Fawley, Berks. Entered a 
ploughed vale which might be called the Valley of Brown 
Melancholy. The silence is remarkable. . . . Though I 
am alive with the living I can only see the dead here, and 
am scarcely conscious of the happy children at play." 

"October 7. Tennyson died yesterday morning." 

"October 12. At Tennyson's funeral in Westminster 
Abbey. The music was sweet and impressive, but as a 
funeral the scene was less penetrating than a plain coun- 
try interment would have been. Lunched afterwards at 
the National Club with E. Gosse, Austin Dobson, 
Theodore Watts, and William Watson." 

" 1 8. Hurt my tooth at breakfast- time. I look in the 
glass. Am conscious of the humiliating sorriness of my 
earthly tabernacle, and of the sad fact that the best of 


parents could do no better for me. . . . Why should a 
man's mind have been thrown into such close, sad, 
sensational, inexplicable relations with such a precarious 
object as his own body !" 

" 'October 24. The best tragedy highest tragedy in 
short is that of the WORTHY encompassed by the IN- 
EVITABLE. The tragedies of immoral and worthless 
people are not of the best." 

"December. At the 'Empire' [Music-Hall]. The 
dancing-girls are nearly all skeletons. One can see drawn 
lines and puckers in their young flesh. They should be 
penned and fattened for a month to round out their 

"December 17. At an interesting legal dinner at Sir 
Francis Jeune's. They were all men of law but myself 
mostly judges. Their stories, so old and boring to one 
another, were all new to me, and I was delighted. Haw- 
kins told me his experiences in the Tichborne case, and 
that it was by a mere chance that he was not on the other 
side. Lord Coleridge (the cross-examiner in the same 
case, with his famous, * Would you be surprised to hear ?') 
was also anecdotic. Afterwards, when Lady J. had a 
large reception, the electric-lights all went out, just when 
the rooms were most crowded, but fortunately there 
being a shine from the fire we all stood still till candles 
were brought in old rummaged-up candlesticks*" 


1893: Act. 52-53 

"January 13. The Fiddler of the Reels (short story) 
posted to Messrs. Scribner, New York/' 

"February 16. Heard a curious account of a grave 
that was ordered (by telegraph ?) at West Stafford, and 
dug. But no funeral ever came, the person who had 
ordered it being unknown ; and the grave had to be filled 
up." This entry had probably arisen from Hardy's occu- 
pation during some days of this winter in designing his 
father's tombstone, of which he made complete drawings 
for the stonemason ; and it was possibly his contract with 
the stonemason that made him think of that trade for his 
next hero, though in designing church stonework as an 
architect's pupil he had of course met with many. 

"February 22. There cannot be equity in one kind. 
Assuming, e.g* y the possession of 1,000,000 sterling or 
10,000 acres of land to be the coveted ideal, all cannot 
possess 1,000,000 or 10,000 acres. But there is a practi- 
cable equity possible : that the happiness which one man 
derives from one thing shall be equalled by what another 
man derives from another thing. Freedom from worry, 
for instance, is a counterpoise to the lack of great posses- 
sions, though he who enjoys that freedom may not 
think so." 

"February 23. A story must be exceptional enough to 
justify its telling. We tale-tellers are all Ancient Mari- 
ners, and none of us is warranted in stopping Wedding 



Guests (in other words, the hurrying public) unless he has 
something more unusual to relate than the ordinary 
experience of every average man and woman. 

"The whole secret of fiction and the drama in the 
constructional part lies in the adjustment of things un- 
usual to things eternal and universal. The writer who 
knows exactly how exceptional, and how non-exceptional, 
his events should be made, possesses the key to the art/* 

"April. I note that a clever thrush, and a stupid 
nightingale, sing very much alike. 

"Am told that Nat C "s good-for-nothing grand- 
son has * turned ranter' i.e. street-preacher and, meet- 
ing a girl he used to carry on with, the following dialogue 
ensued : 

HE : "Do you read your Bible for your spiritual good ? ! 

SHE : "Ho-ho ! Git along wi' thee P 

HE : 'But do you, my dear young woman ?' 

SHE: 'Haw-haw! Not this morning!' 

HE : *Do you read your Bible, I implore ? ' 

SHE : (tongue out) c No, nor you neither. Come, you 
can't act in that show, Natty ! You haven't the guts to 
carry it off!* The discussion was ended by their going off 
to Came Plantation." 

In London this spring they again met many people, 
the popularity of Hardy as an author now making him 
welcome anywhere. For the first time they took a whole 
house, 70 Hamilton Terrace, and brought up their own 
servants, and found themselves much more comfortable 
under this arrangement than they had been before. 

At such crushes, luncheons, and dinners the Hardys 
made or renewed acquaintance also with Mrs. R. Cham- 
berlain, Mr* Charles Wyndham, Mr. Goschen, and the 
Duke, Duchess, and Princess May of Teck, afterwards 
Queen Mary* "Lady Winifred Gardner whispered to me 
that meeting the Royal Family always reminded her of 
family prayers- The Duke confused the lady who intro- 


duced me to him by saying it was unnecessary, as he had 
known me for years, adding privately to me when she was 
gone, * That's good enough for her: of course I meant 
I had known you spiritually'/ 1 

"13. Whibley dined with me at the Savile, and I 
afterwards went with him to the Trocadero Music-Hail. 
Saw the great men famous performers at the Halls 
drinking at the bar in long coats before going on : on 
their faces an expression of not wishing in the least to 
emphasize their importance to the world." 

" April '19. Thought while dressing, and seeing people 
go by to their offices, how strange it is that we should talk 
so glibly of 'this cold world which shows no sympathy', 
when this is the feeling of so many components of the 
same world probably a majority and nearly every 
one's neighbour is waiting to give and receive sympathy." 

"25. Courage has been idealized; why not Fear? 
which is a higher consciousness, and based on a deeper 

"27. A great lack of tact in A. J. B., who was in the 
chair at the Royal Literary Fund dinner which I attended 
last night. The purpose of the dinner was, of course, to 
raise funds for poor authors, largely from the pockets of 
the more successful ones who were present with the other 
guests. Yet he dwelt with much emphasis on the decline 
of the literary art, and on his opinion that there were no 
writers of high rank living in these days. We hid our 
diminished heads, and buttoned our pockets. What he 
said may have been true enough, but alas for saying it 

"28. At Academy Private View. Find that there is a 
very good painting here of Woolbridge Manor-House 
under the (erroneous) title of ( Tess of the d'Urbervilles' 
ancestral home*. Also one entitled 'In Hardy's Country, 
Egdon Heath', 

"The worst of taking a furnished house is that the 


articles in the rooms are saturated with the thoughts and 
glances of others/' 

"May 10. Spent a scientific evening at the conver- 
sazione of the Royal Society,, where I talked on the ex- 
hibits to Sir R. Quain, Dr. Clifford Allbutt, Humphry 
Ward-, Bos worth Smith, Sir J. Crich ton-Browne, F. and 
G. Macmillan, Ray Lankester, and others, without 
(I flatter myself) betraying excessive ignorance in respect 
of the points in the show.' - 

"May 1 8. Left Euston by 9 o'clock morning train 
with E. for Llandudno, en route for Dublin. After arrival 
at Llandudno drove around Great Orme's Head. Mag- 
nificent deep purple-grey mountains, the fine colour 
being on account of an approaching storm." 

"19. Went on to Holyhead and Kingstown. Met on 
board John Morley, the Chief Secretary, and Sir John 
Fender. Were awaited at Dublin by conveyance from the 
Viceregal Lodge as promised, this invitation being one 
renewed from last year, when I was obliged to postpone 
my visit on account of my father's death. We were 
received by Mrs. Arthur Henniker, the Lord-Lieutenant's 
sister. A charming, intuitive woman apparently. Lord 
Houghton (the Lord-Lieutenant) came in shortly after. 
"Our bedroom windows face the Phoenix Park and the 
Wicklow Mountains. The Lodge appears to have been 
built some time in the last century. A roomy building 
with many corridors." 

" 20. To Dublin Castle, Christ Church, etc., conducted 
by Mr. Trevelyan, Em having gone with Mrs. Henniker, 
Mrs. Greer, and Miss Beresford to a Bazaar. Next day 
(Sunday) she went to Christ Church with them, and 
Trevelyan and I, after depositing them at the church door, 
went on to Bray, where we found the Chief Secretary and 
the Lord Chancellor at the grey hotel by the shore, 
'making magistrates by the dozen', as Morley said." 

Monday. Several went to the races. Mr* 


Lucy (who is also here) and I, however, went Into Dub- 
lin, and viewed the public buildings and some comical 
drunken women dancing, I suppose because it was 

"A larger party at dinner. Mr. Dundas, an A.D.C., 
played banjo and sang : Mrs. Henniker the zithern/' 

"23. Morley came to lunch. In the afternoon I went 
with EL Lucy to the scene of the Phoenix Park murders." 

" 24. Queen's birthday review. Troops and carriages 
at door at |- past n. The Aides of whom there are 
about a dozen are transformed by superb accoutre- 
ments into warriors Mr. St. John Meyrick into a Gor- 
don Highlander [he was killed in the South African War], 
Mr. Dundas into a dashing hussar. Went in one of the 
carriages of the procession with E. and the rest. A roman- 
tic scene, pathetically gay, especially as to the horses in 
the gallop past. 'Yes : very pretty V Mr. Dundas said, as 
one who knew the real thing. 

"At lunch Lord Wolseley told me interesting things 
about war. On the other side of me was a young lieu- 
tenant, grandson of Lady de Ros, who recalled the 
Napoleonic wars. By Wolseley's invitation I visited him 
at the Military Hospital. Thence drove to Mrs. Lyttel- 
ton's to tea at the Chief Secretary's Lodge (which she 
rented). She showed me the rooms in which the bodies of 
Lord F. Cavendish and Mr. Burke were placed, and told 
some gruesome details of the discovery of a roll of bloody 
clothes under the sofa after the entry of the succeeding 
Secretary. The room had not been cleaned out since 
the murders. 

"We dined this evening at the Private Secretary's 
Lodge with Mrs. Jekyll. Met Mahaffy there, a rattling, 
amusing talker, and others. Went back to the Viceregal 
Lodge soon enough to join the state diners in the drawing- 
room. Talked to several, and the Viceroy. Very funny 
altogether, this little Court/ 2 


"25. Went over Guinness's Brewery, with Mrs. 
Henniker and several of the Viceregal guests, in the 
morning. Mr. Guinness conducted us. On the miniature 
railway we all got splashed with porter, or possibly dirty 
water, spoiling Em's and Mrs. Henniker's clothes. E. 
and I left the Lodge after lunch and proceeded by 3 
o'clock train to Killarney, Lord Houghton having given 
me a copy of his poems. Put up at the Great Southern 
Railway Hotel." 

"26. Drove in car round Middle Lake, first driving 
to Ross Castle. Walked in afternoon about Killarney 
town, where the cows stand about the streets like people/' 

"27. Started in wagonette for the Gap of Dunloe. 
Just below Kate Kearney's house Em mounted a pony 
and I proceeded more leisurely on foot by the path. The 
scenery of the Black Valley is deeply impressive. Here 
are beauties of Nature to delight man, and to degrade 
him by attracting all the vagabonds in the country. 
Boats met us at the head of the Upper Lake, and we were 
rowed through the three to Ross Castle, whence we drove 
back to Killarney Town." 

On the following Sunday they left and passed through 
Dublin, sleeping at the Marine Hotel at Kingstown, and 
early the next morning took the boat to Holyhead. 
Reached London the same evening. 

Early in June Hardy attended a rehearsal at Terry's 
Theatre of his one-act play called The Three Wayfarers 
a dramatization of his story The Three Strangers y made at 
the suggestion of J. M. Barrie. On the 3rd June the play 
was produced with one equally short by his friend, and 
another or two. The Hardys went with Lady Jeune and 
some more friends, and found that the little piece was well 

During the week he saw Ibsen's Hedda Gabler and 
Rosmersholm, in which Miss Elizabeth Robins played. 


The former he had already seen, but was again impressed 
by it, as well as by the latter. Hardy could not at all 
understand the attitude of the English press towards 
these tragic productions the culminating evidence of 
our blinkered insular taste being afforded by the nick- 
name of the "Ibscene drama" which they received. 

On the eighth he met for the first time (it is believed) 
that brilliant woman, Mrs. Craigie ; and about this date 
various other people, including Mr. Hamilton Aide, an 
old friend of Sir Arthur BlomfiekTs. In the week he still 
followed up Ibsen, going to The Master Builder with Sir 
Gerald and Lady Fitzgerald and her sister, Mrs. Henniker, 
who said afterwards that she was so excited by the play as 
not to be able to sleep all night ; and on Friday lunched 
with General Milman at the Tower, inspecting "Little- 
ease", and other rooms not generally shown at that time. 
In the evening he went with Mrs. Hardy and Miss Milman 
to Barrie's play, Walker y London^ going behind the scenes 
with Barrie, and making the acquaintance of J. L, Toole, 
who said he could not go on even now on a first night 
without almost breaking down with nervousness. In a 
letter to Mrs. Henniker Hardy describes this experience : 

"The evening of yesterday I spent in what I fear you 
will call a frivolous manner indeed, during the time, my 
mind reverted to our Ibsen experience ; and I could not 
help being regretfully struck by the contrast although 
I honestly was amused. Barrie had arranged to take 
us and Maarten Maartens to see B/s play of Walker^ 
London^ and lunching yesterday with the Milmans at 
the Tower we asked Miss Milman to be of the party. 
Mr. Toole heard we had come and invited us behind the 
scenes. We accordingly went and sat with him in his 
dressing-room, where he entertained us with hock and 
champagne, he meanwhile in his paint, wig, and blazer, 
as he had come off the stage, amusing us with the drollest 
of stories about a visit he and a friend paid to the Tower 


some years ago: how he amazed the custodian by 
entreating the loan of the crown jewels for an amateur 
dramatic performance for a charitable purpose, offering 
to deposit 308. as a guarantee that he would return 
them,, etc.., etc., etc. We were rather late home as you 
may suppose/* 

Some ten days later Hardy was at Oxford. It was 
during the Encaenia, with the Christ Church and other 
college balls, garden parties, and suchlike bright func- 
tions, but Hardy did not make himself known, his object 
being to view the proceedings entirely as a stranger. It 
may be mentioned that the recipients of Honorary De- 
grees this year included Lord Rosebery, the Bishop of 
Oxford, Dr. Liddell, and Sir Charles Euan Smith, a friend 
of his own. He viewed the Commemoration proceedings 
from the undergraduates' gallery of the Sheldonian, his 
quarters while at Oxford being at the Wilberforce Tem- 
perance Hotel. 

The remainder of their season in London this year was 
of the usual sort. A memorial service to Admiral Tryon, 
a view of the marriage procession of the Duke of York 
and Princess May from the Club window, performances 
by Eleanor a Duse and Ada Rehan in their respective 
theatres, with various dinners and luncheons, brought 
on the end of their term in Hamilton Terrace, and 
they returned to Dorchester. A note he made this 
month runs as follows : 

"I often think that women, even those who consider 
themselves experienced in sexual strategy, do not know 
how to manage an honest man." 

In the latter part of July Hardy had to go up to town 
again for a few days, when he took occasion to attend a 
lecture by Stepniak on Tolstoi, to visit City churches, and 
to go with Lady Jeune and her daughters to a farewell 
performance by Irving. His last call this summer was on 


Lady Londonderry, who remained his friend through the 
ensuing years* "A beautiful woman still", he says of her ; 
"and very glad to see me, which beautiful women are not 
always. The Duchess of Manchester [Consuelo] called 
while I was there, and Lady Jeune. All four of us talked 
of the marriage-laws, a conversation which they started, 
not I ; also of the difficulties of separation, of terminable 
marriages where there are children, and of the nervous 
strain of living with a man when you know he can throw 
you over at any moment/' 

It may be mentioned here that after the Duchess of 
Manchester's death a good many years later Hardy de- 
scribed her as having been when he first knew her "a 
warm-natured woman, laughing-eyed, and bubbling with 
impulses, in temperament very much like * Julie-Jane' in 
one of my poems'-. 

"At Dorchester. July 31 st. Mrs. R. Eliot lunched. 
Her story of the twins, * May ' and * June '. May was born 
between n and 12 on the 3ist May, and June between 
12 and i on June the 1st." 

The following month, in reply to an inquiry by the 
editors of the Parisian paper UErmitage, he wrote : 

"I consider a social system based on individual spon- 
taneity to promise better for happiness than a curbed and 
uniform one under which all temperaments are bound to 
shape themselves to a single pattern of living. To this 
end I would have society divided into groups of tempera- 
ments ', with a different code of observances for each group." 

It is doubtful if this Utopian scheme possessed 
Hardy's fancy for any long time. 

In the middle of August Hardy and his wife accepted 
an invitation to visit the Milnes-Gaskells at Wenlock 
Abbey, on their way thither calling at Hereford to see the 
Cathedral, Hardy always making a point of not missing 
such achievements in architecture, even if familiar. Lady 
Catherine and her daughter met them at the station. 


"Lady C. is as sweet as ever, and almost as pretty, and 
occasionally shows a quizzical wit. The pet name c Catty' 
which her dearest friends give her has, I fear, a suspicious 
tremor of malice. 5 * They were interested to find their bed- 
room in the Norman part of the building, Hardy saying 
he felt quite mouldy at sleeping within walls of such 
high antiquity. 

Their time at the Abbey appears to have been very 
pleasant. They idled about in the shade of the ruins, and 
Milnes-Gaskell told an amusing story of a congratulatory 
dinner by fellow-townsmen to a burgher who had obtained 
a divorce from his wife, where the mayor made a speech 
beginning, "On this auspicious occasion". During their 
stay they went with him to Stokesay Castle and Shrews- 
bury. Lady Wenlock came one day; and on Sunday 
Hardy and Lady C. walked till they were tired, when they 
"sat down on the edge of a lonely sandpit and talked of 
suicide, pessimism, whether life was worth living, and 
kindred dismal subjects, till we were quite miserable. 
After dinner all sat round a lantern in the court under 
the stars where Lady C. told stories in the Devonshire 
dialect, moths flying about the lantern as in InMemoriam. 
She also defined the difference between coquetting and 
flirting, considering the latter a grosser form of the first, 
and alluded to Zola's phrase, 'a woman whose presence 
was like a caress ', saying that some women could not help 
it being so, even if they wished it otherwise. I doubted it, 
considering it but their excuse for carrying on/' 

On their way back the Hardys went to Ludlow Castle, 
and deplored the wanton treatment which had led to the 
rooflessness of the historic pile where Comus was first 
performed and Hudibras partly written. Hardy thought 
that even now a millionaire might be able to re-roof it 
and make it his residence. 

On a flying visit to London at the end of this month, 
dining at the Conservative Club with Sir George Douglas, 


he had "an interesting scientific conversation" with Sir 
James Crichton-Browne. "A woman's brain, according 
to him, is as large in proportion to her body as a man's. 
The most passionate women are not those selected in 
civilized society to breed from, as in a state of nature, but 
the colder ; the former going on the streets (I am sceptical 
about this). The doctrines of Darwin require readjusting 
largely; for instance, the survival of the fittest in the 
struggle for life. There is an altruism and coalescence 
between cells as well as an antagonism. Certain cells 
destroy certain cells; but others assist and combine. 
Well, I can't say/' 

"September 13. At Max Gate. A striated crimson 
sunset ; opposite it I sit in the study writing by the light 
of a shaded lamp, which looks primrose against the red." 
This was Hardy's old study facing west (now altered) in 
which he wrote Tess of the d'Urbermlles y before he re- 
moved into his subsequent one looking east, where he 
wrote The Dynasts and all his later poetry, and which is 
still unchanged. 

"September 14. Drove with Em. to the Sheridans ? , 
Frampton. Tea on lawn. Mrs. Mildmay, young Har- 
court, Lord Dufferin, etc. On our return all walked with 
us as far as the first park-gate. May [afterwards Lady 
Stracey] looked remarkably well." 

" September 17. At Bockhampton heard a story about 
eels that was almost gruesome how they jumped out of 
a bucket at night, crawled all over the house and halfway 
up the stairs, their tails being heard swishing in the dark, 
and were ultimately found in the garden ; and when water 
was put to them to wash off the gravel and earth they 
became lively and leapt about," 

At the end of the month Hardy and his wife went on a 
visit to Sir Francis and Lady Jeune at Arlington Manor, 
finding the house when they arrived as cheerful as the 
Jeunes* house always was in those days, Hardy saying 


that there was never another house like it for cheerful- 
ness. Among the other house-guests were Mrs. Craigie 
("John Oliver Hobbes"), Lewis Morris, Mr. Stephen (a 
director of the North- Western Railway), and Hubert 
Howard, son of Lord Carlisle. On Sunday morning 
Hardy took a two hours' walk with Mrs. Craigie on the 
moor, when she explained to him her reasons for joining 
the Roman Catholic Church, a step which had vexed him 
somewhat. Apparently he did not consider her reasons 
satisfactory, but their friendship remained unbroken. 
While staying there they went to Shaw House, an intact 
Elizabethan mansion, and to a picnic in Savernake Forest, 
"where Lady Jeune cooked luncheon in a great saucepan, 
with her sleeves rolled up and an apron on". 

" October 7-10. Wrote a song/' (Which of his songs 
is not mentioned.) 

"November II. Met Lady Cynthia Graham. In 
appearance she is something like my idea of Tess, though 
I did not know her when the novel was written." 

"November 23. Poem. 'The Glass-stainer' (pub- 
lished later on)." 

"November 28. Poem. 'He views himself as an au- 
tomaton' (published). 

"December. Found and touched up a short story 
called 'An Imaginative Woman'. 

" In London with a slight cold in the head. Dined at the 
Dss. of Manchester's. Most of the guests had bad colds, 
and our hostess herself a hacking cough. A lively dinner 
all the same. As some people had not been able to come 
I dined with her again a few days later, as did also 
George [afterwards Lord] Curzon. Lady Londonderry 
told me that her mother's grandmother was Spanish, 
whence the name of Theresa. There were also present 
the Duke of Devonshire, Arthur Balfour, and Mr. and 
Mrs. Lyttelton. When I saw the Duchess again two or 
three days later, she asked me how I liked her relation, 


the Duke. I said not much ; he was too heavy for one 
thing. 'That's because he's so shy !' she urged. I assure 
you he is quite different when it wears off.- I looked as 
if I did not believe much in the shyness. However, I'll 

assume it was so." 

After looking at a picture of Grindelwald and the Wet- 
terhorn at somebody's house he writes: "I could argue 
thus : * There is no real interest or beauty in this moun- 
tain, which appeals only to the childish taste for colour or 
size. The little houses at the foot are the real interest of 
the scene '." Hardy never did argue so, nor intend to, nor 
quite believe the argument; but one understands what 
he means. 

Finishing his London engagements, which included 
the final revision with Mrs. Henniker of a weird story in 
which they had collaborated, entitled "The Spectre of 
the Real", he spent Christmas at Max Gate as usual, re- 
ceiving the carol-singers there on Christmas Eve, where, 
"though quite modern, with a harmonium, they made a 
charming picture with their lanterns under the trees, 
the rays diminishing away in the winter mist". On New 
Year's Eve it was calm, and they stood outside the door 
listening to the muffled peal from the tower of Fordington 
St. George. 



1894-1895: Aet. 53-55 

"February 4, 1894. Curious scene encountered this (Sun- 
day) evening as I was walking back to Dorchester from 
Bockhampton very late nearly 12 o'clock. A girl almost 
in white on the top of Stinsford Hill, beating a tam- 
bourine and dancing. She looked like one of the * angelic 
quire', who had tumbled down out of the sky, and I could 
hardly believe my eyes. Not a soul there or near but 
her and myself. Was told she belonged to the Salvation 
Army, who beat tambourines devotionally." The scene 
was afterwards put into verse. 

One day this month he spent in Stinsford Churchyard 
with his brother, superintending the erection of their 
father's tombstone. 

At Londonderry House the subject arose of social 
blunders. The hostess related some amusing ones of hers ; 
but Sir Redvers Buller capped everybody by describing 
what he called a " double-barrelled " one of his own. He 
inquired of a lady next him at dinner who a certain 
gentleman was, "like a hippopotamus", sitting opposite 
them. He was the lady's husband ; and Sir Redvers was 
so depressed by the disaster that had befallen him that 
he could not get it off his mind ; hence at a dinner the 
next evening he sought the condolences of an elderly lady, 
to whom he related his misfortune; and remembered 



when he had told the story that his listener was the 
gentleman's mother. 

At a very interesting luncheon at the Bachelors* Club 
given by his friend George Curzon he made the acquaint- 
ance of Mr. F. C. Selous, the mighty hunter, with the 
nature of whose fame he was not, however, quite in sym- 
pathy, wondering how such a seemingly humane man 
could live for killing ; and also of Lord Roberts and Lord 

After these cheerful doings he returned to Max Gate 
for awhile, but when in London again, to look for a house 
for the spring and summer, he occasionally visited a friend 
he had earlier known by correspondence, Lord Pembroke, 
author of South Sea Bubbles^ a fellow Wessex man, as 
he called himself, for whom Hardy acquired a very warm 
feeling. He was now ill at a nursing home in London, 
and an amusing incident occurred while his visitor was 
sitting by his bedside one afternoon, thinking what havoc 
of good material it was that such a fine and handsome 
man should be prostrated. He whispered to Hardy that 
there was a "Tess" in the establishment, who always 
came if he rang at that time of the day, and that he would 
do so then that Hardy might see her. He accordingly 
rang, whereupon Tess's chronicler was much disappointed 
at the result ; but endeavoured to discern beauty in the 
very indifferent figure who responded, and at last per- 
suaded himself that he could do so. When she had gone 
the patient apologized, saying that for the first time since 
he had lain there a stranger had attended to his summons. 

On Hardy's next visit to his friend Pembroke said 
with the faintest reproach: "You go to the fashionable 
house in front, and you might come round to the back to 
see me." The nursing home was at the back of Lady 
Londonderry's. They never met again, and when he 
heard of Pembroke's unexpected death Hardy remem- 
bered the words and grieved. 


"April 7. Wrote to Harper's asking to be allowed to 
cancel the agreement to supply a serial story to Harper's 
Magazine" This agreement was the cause of a good deal 
of difficulty afterwards (the story being Judethe Obscure) , 
as will be seen. 

This year they found a house at South Kensington, 
and moved into it with servants brought from the coun- 
try, to be surprised a little later by the great attention 
their house received from butchers' and bakers' young 
men, postmen, and other passers-by; when they found 
their innocent country servants to have set up flirtations 
with all these in a bold style which the London servant 
was far too cautious to adopt. 

At the end of April he paid a visit to George Meredith 
at his house near Box Hill, and had an interesting and 
friendly evening there, his son and daughter-in-law being 
present. "Meredith , he said, "is a shade artificial in 
manner at first, but not unpleasantly so, and he soon for- 
gets to maintain it, so that it goes off quite." 

At a dinner at the Grand Hotel given by Mr. Astor to 
his contributors in May, Hardy had a talk with Lord 
Roberts, who spoke most modestly of his achievements. It 
was "an artistic and luxuriant banquet, with beds of roses 
on the tables, electric lights shining up like glowworms 
through their leaves and petals [an arrangement somewhat 
of a novelty then], and a band playing behind the palms ". 

This month he spared two or three days from London 
to go to Aldeburgh in Suffolk, where at the house of Mr. 
Edward Clodd, his host, he met Grant Allen and 
Whymper, the mountaineer, who told of the tragedy on 
the Matterhorn in 1865 in which he was the only survivor 
of the four Englishmen present a reminiscence which 
specially impressed Hardy from the fact that he remem- 
bered the particular day, thirty years before, of the 
arrival of the news in this country. He had walked from 
his lodgings in Westbourne Park Villas to Harrow that 


afternoon, and on entering the place was surprised to 
notice people standing at the doors discussing something 
with a serious look. It turned out to be the catastrophe, 
two of the victims being residents of Harrow. The event 
lost nothing by Whymper's relation of it. He afterwards 
marked for Hardy on a sketch of the Matterhorn a red 
line showing the track of the adventurers to the top and 
the spot of the accident a sketch which is still at Max 
Gate with his signature, 

On a day in the week following he was at the Women 
Writers' Club probably its first anniversary meeting 
and, knowing what women writers mostly had to put up 
with, was surprised to find himself in a group of fashion- 
ably dressed youngish ladies, the Princess Christian being 
present with other women of rank. "Dear me are 
women-writers like this I" he said with changed views. 

During the same week they fulfilled likewise day or 
night invitations to Lady Carnarvon's, Mrs. Pitt-Rivers's, 
and other houses. At Lady Malmesbury's one of her 
green linnets escaped from its cage, and he caught it 
reluctantly, but feeling that a green linnet at large in Lon- 
don would be in a worse predicament than as a prisoner. 

At the Countess of 's "a woman very rich and very 

pretty" [Marcia, Lady Yarborough], informed him 
mournfully in tete-a-tete that people snubbed her, which so 
surprised him that he could hardly believe it, and frankly 
told her it was her own imagination. She was the lady 
of the "Pretty pink frock" poem, though it should be 
stated that the deceased was not her husband but an 
uncle. And at an evening party at her house later he 
found her in a state of nerves, lest a sudden downpour of 
rain, which had occurred, should prevent people coming, 
and spoil her grand gathering. However, when the worst 
of the thunderstorm was over they duly streamed in, and 
she touched him j oyfully on the shoulder and said, " You Ve 
conjured them !" "My entertainer's sister, Lady P > 


was the most beautiful woman there. On coming away 
there were no cabs to be got [on account of a strike, it 
seems], and I returned to S.K. on the top of a 'bus. No 
sooner was I up there than the rain began again. A girl 
who had scrambled up after me asked for the shelter of 
my umbrella and I gave it when she startled me by 
holding on tight to my arm and bestowing on me many 
kisses for the trivial kindness. She told me she had been to 
'The Pav', and was tired, and was going home. She had 
not been drinking. I descended at the South Kensington 
Station and watched the 'bus bearing her away. An affec- 
tionate nature wasted on the streets ! It was a strange 
contrast to the scene I had just left." 

Early in June they were at the first performance of a 
play by Mrs. Craigie at Daly's Theatre, and did some 
entertaining at their own house, after which Mrs. Hardy 
was unwell, and went to Hastings for a change of air, 
Hardy going to Dorchester to look at some alterations he 
was making in his Max Gate house. At the end of a week 
he fetched his wife from Hastings, and after more dinners 
and luncheons he went to a melodrama at the Adelphi, 
which was said to be based without acknowledgment on 
Tess of the d'Urbervilles. He had received many requests 
for a dramatic version of the novel, but he found that 
nothing could be done with it among London actor- 
managers, all of them in their notorious timidity being 
afraid of the censure from conventional critics that had 
resisted Ibsen ; and he abandoned all idea of producing it, 
one prominent actor telling him frankly that he could not 
play such a dubious character as Angel Clare (which 
would have suited him precisely), "because I have my 
name to make, and it would risk my reputation with the 
public if I played anything but a heroic character without 
spot ". Hardy thought of the limited artistic sense of even 
a leading English actor. Yet before and after this time 
Hardy received letters or oral messages from almost every 


actress of note in Europe asking for an opportunity of 
appearing in the part of "Tess" among them being 
Mrs. Patrick Campbell, Ellen Terry, Sarah Bernhardt, 
and Eleanora Duse. 

During July Hardy met Mrs. Asquith for the first time ; 
and at another house he had an interesting conversation 
with Dr. W. H. Russell on the battles in the Franco- 
Prussian war, where Russell had been correspondent for 
The Times, and was blamed by some readers for putting 
too much realism into his accounts. Russell told Hardy a 
distressing story of a horse with no under jaw, laying its 
head upon his thigh in a dumb appeal for sympathy, two 
or three days after the battle of Gravelotte, when he was 
riding over the field ; and other such sickening experiences. 

Whether because he was assumed to have written a 
notorious novel or not Hardy could not say, but he found 
himself continually invited hither and thither to see 
famous beauties of the time some of whom disappointed 
him ; but some he owned to be very beautiful, such as Lady 
Powis, Lady Yarborough, Lady de Grey "handsome, 
tall, glance-giving, arch, friendly" the Duchess of Mont- 
rose, Mrs. John Hanbury, Lady Cynthia Graham, Amelie 
Rives, and many others. A crush at Lady Spencer's at the 
Admiralty was one of the last of the parties they attended 
this season. But he mostly was compelled to slip away as 
soon as he could from these gatherings, finding that they 
exhausted him both of strength and ideas, few of the 
latter being given him in return for his own, because the 
fashionable throng either would not part from those it 
possessed, or did not possess any. 

On the day of their giving up their house at South 
Kensington a curious mishap befell him. He had dis- 
patched the servants and luggage in the morning ; Mrs. 
Hardy also had driven off to the station, leaving him, as 
they had arranged, to look over the house, see all was 
right, and await the caretaker, when he and his port- 


manteau would follow the rest to Dorchester. He was 
coming down the stairs of the silent house dragging the 
portmanteau behind him when his back gave way, and 
there he had to sit till the woman arrived to help him. In 
the course of the afternoon he was better and managed to 
get off, the acute pain turning out to be rheumatism 
aggravated by lifting the portmanteau. 

"August 1-7. Dorchester : Seedy : back got better by 

"October 16. To London to meet Henry Harper on 

" October 20. Dined at the Guards' Mess, St. James's, 
with Major Henniker. After dinner went round with him 
to the sentries with a lantern/-' 

"October 23. Dining at the Savile last Sunday with 
Ray Lankester we talked of hypnotism, will, etc. He did 
not believe in silent influence, such as making a person 
turn round by force of will without communication. But 
of willing, for example, certain types of women by speech 
to do as you desire such as 'You shall r , or you are to> 
marry me', he seemed to have not much doubt. If true, 
it seems to open up unpleasant possibilities." 

"November. Painful story. Old P , who narrowly 

escaped hanging for arson about 1830, returned after his 
imprisonment, died at West Stafford, his native village, 
and was buried there. His widow long after died in Ford- 
ington, having saved 5 to be buried with her husband. 
The rector of the village made no objection, and the grave 
was dug. Meanwhile the daughter had come home, and 
said the money was not enough to pay for carrying the 
body of her mother out there in the country ; so the grave 
was filled in, and the woman buried where she died." 

"November n. Old song heard : 

*And then she arose, 
And put on her best clothes, 
And went off to the north with the Blues.* 



* Come ashore, Jolly Tar, with your trousers on/ 

"Another (sung at J. D.'s wedding) : 

'Somebody here has been . . . 
Or else some charming shepherdess 
That wears the gown of green.' " 

In December he ran up to London alone on publishing 
business, and stayed at a temporary room off Piccadilly, 
to be near his club. It was then that there seems to have 
occurred, according to what he said later, some incident 
of the kind possibly adumbrated in the verses called "At 
Mayfair Lodgings ", in Moments of Vision. He watched 
during a sleepless night a lighted window close by, won- 
dering who might be lying there ill. Afterwards he dis- 
covered that a woman had lain there dying, and that she 
was one whom he had cared for in his youth, when she 
was a girl in a neighbouring village. 

In March of the next year (1895) Hardy was going 
about the neighbourhood of Dorchester and other places 
in Wessex with Mr. Macbeth Raeburn, the well-known 
etcher, who had been commissioned by the publishers to 
make sketches on the spot for frontispieces to the Wessex 
Novels. To those scenes which Hardy could not visit 
himself he sent the artist alone, one of which places, Char- 
borough Park, the scene of Two on a Tower ', was extremely 
difficult of access, the owner jealously guarding ingress 
upon her estate, and particularly to her park and house. 
Raeburn came back in the evening full of his adventures. 
Reaching the outer park-gate he found it locked, but the 
lodge-keeper opened it on his saying he had important 
business at the house. He then reached the second park- 
gate, which was unfastened to him on the same representa- 
tion of urgency, but more dubiously. He then got to the 
front door of the mansion, rang, and asked permission to 


sketch the house. "Good God !" said the butler, "you don't 
know what you are asking. You had better be off before 
the mis'ess sees you, or the bailiff comes across you !" He 
started away discomfited, but thought he would make an 
attempt at a sketch behind the shadow of a tree. Whilst 
doing this he heard a voice shouting, and beheld a man 
runninguptohim theredoubtablebailiff who promptly 
ordered him out of the park. Raeburn as he moved off 
thought he detected something familiar in the accent of 
the bailiff, and turning said, "Surely you come from my 
country?" "An' faith, man, it may be so!" the bailiff 
suddenly replied, whereon they compared notes, and 
found they had grown up in the same Scottish village. Then 
matters changed. * ' Draw where you like and what you like, 
only don't let her see you from the winders at a'. She's a 
queer auld body, not bad at bottom, though it's rather 
far down. Draw as ye will, an' if I see her coming I'll 
hauld up my hand." Mr. Raeburn finished his sketch in 
peace and comfort, and it stands to this day at the begin- 
ning of the novel as evidence of the same. 

During the spring they paid a visit of a few days to the 
Jeunes at Arlington Manor, where they also found Sir EL 
Drummond Wolff, home from Madrid, Lady Dorothy 
Nevill, Sir Henry Thompson, and other friends ; and in 
May entered a flat at Ashley Gardens, Westminster, for 
the season. While here a portrait of Hardy was painted 
by Miss Winifred Thomson. A somewhat new feature in 
their doings this summer was going to teas on the terrace 
of the House of Commons in those days a newly fashion- 
able form of entertainment. Hardy was not a bit of a 
politician, but he attended several of these, and of course 
met many Members there. 

On June 29 Hardy attended the laying of the foundation 
stone of the Westminster Cathedral, possibly because the 
site was close to the flat he occupied, for he had no leanings 
to Roman Catholicism. However, there he was, and deeply 


impressed by the scene. In July he visited St. Saviour's, 
Southwark, by arrangement with Sir Arthur Blomfield, to 
see how he was getting on with the restoration. Dinners 
and theatres carried them through the month, in which 
he also paid a visit to Burford Bridge, to dine at the hotel 
with the Omar Khayyam Club and meet George Meredith, 
where the latter made a speech, and Hardy likewise, said 
to be the first and last ever made by either of them ; at 
any rate it was the first, and last but one or two, by Hardy. 

Hardy's entries of his doings were always of a fitful 
and irregular kind, and now there occurs a hiatus which 
cannot be filled. But it is clear that at the end of the sum- 
mer at Max Gate he was "restoring the MS. of Jude the 
Obscure to its original state" on which process he sets 
down an undated remark, probably about the end of 
August, when he sent off the restored copy to the pub- 
lishers : 

"On account of the labour of altering Jude the Obscure 
to suit the magazine, and then having to alter it back, I 
have lost energy for revising and improving the original 
as I meant to do." 

In September they paid a week's visit to General and 
Mrs. Pitt-Rivers at Rushmore, and much enjoyed the 
time. It was on the occasion of the annual sports at the 
Larmer Tree, and a full moon and clear sky favouring, the 
dancing on the green was a great success. The local paper 
gives more than a readable description of the festivity for 
this particular year : 

"After nightfall the scene was one of extraordinary 
picturesqueness and poetry, its great features being the 
illumination of the grounds by thousands of Vauxhall 
lamps, and the dancing of hundreds of couples under these 
lights and the mellow radiance of the full moon. For the 
dancing a space was especially enclosed, the figures chosen 
being mostly the polka-mazurka and schottische, though 
some country-dances were started by the house-party, 


and led off by the beautiful Mrs. Grove, the daughter of 
General Pitt-Rivers, and her charming sister-in-law, Mrs. 
Pitt. Probably at no other spot in England could such a 
spectacle have been witnessed at any time. One could 
hardly believe that one was not in a suburb of Paris, in- 
stead of a corner in old-fashioned Wiltshire, nearly ten 
miles from a railway-station in any direction/' 

It may be worth mentioning that, passionately fond 
of dancing as Hardy had been from earliest childhood, 
this was the last occasion on which he ever trod a measure, 
according to his own recollection ; at any rate on the green- 
sward, which is by no means so springy to the foot as it 
looks, and left him stiff in the knees for some succeed- 
ing days. It was he who started the country dances, 
his partner being the above-mentioned Mrs. (afterwards 
Lady) Grove. 

A garden-party of their own at Max Gate finished the 
summer doings of the Hardys this year ; and a very differ- 
ent atmosphere from that of dancing on the green soon 
succeeded for him, of the coming of which, by a strange 
divination, he must have had a suspicion, else why should 
he have made the following note beforehand ? 

* Never retract. Never explain. Get it done and 
let them howl/ Words said to Jowett by a very practical 

On the ist November Jude the Obscure was published. 

A week after, on the 8th, he sets down : 

"England seventy years ago. I have heard of a girl, 
now a very old woman, who in her youth was seen follow- 
ing a goose about the common all the afternoon to get a 
quill from the bird, with which the parish-clerk could 
write for her a letter to her lover. Such a first-hand method 
of getting a quill-pen for important letters was not in- 
frequent at that date/- It may be added that Hardy him- 
self had written such love-letters, and read the answers to 


them : but this was after the use of the quill had been 
largely abandoned for that of the steel pen, though old 
people still stuck to quills, and Hardy himself had to 
practice his earliest lessons in writing with a quill. 

The onslaught upon Jude started by the vituperative 
section of the press unequalled in violence since the pub- 
lication of Swinburne's Poems and Ballads thirty years 
before was taken up by the anonymous writers of libel- 
lous letters and postcards, and other such gentry. It 
spread to America and Australia, whence among other 
appreciations he received a letter containing a packet of 
ashes, which the virtuous writer stated to be those of his 
iniquitous novel. 

fThus, though Hardy with his quick sense of humour 
could not help seeing a ludicrous side to it all, and was 
well enough aware that the evil complained of was what 
these "nice minds with nasty ideas " had read into his 
book, and not what he had put therejhe underwent the 
strange experience of beholding a sinister lay figure of 
himself constructed by them, which had no sort of re- 
semblance to him as he was, and which he, and those 
who knew him well, would not have recognized as being 
meant for himself if it had not been called by his name. 
Macaulay's remark in his essay on Byron was well 
illustrated by Thomas Hardy's experience at this time : 
"We know of no spectacle so ridiculous as the British 
public in one of its periodical fits of morality." 

In contrast to all this it is worth while to quote what 
Swinburne wrote to Hardy after reading Jude the Obscure. 

" The tragedy if I may venture an opinion is equally 
beautiful and terrible in its pathos. The beauty, the terror, 
and the truth, are all yours and yours alone. But (if I may 
say so) how cruel you are ! Only the great and awful father 
of * Pierrette* and *L 'Enfant Maudit' was ever so merci- 
less to his children. I think it would hardly be seemly to 


enlarge on all that I admire in your work or on half of 
it The man who can do such work can hardly care about 
criticism or praise, but I will risk saying how thankful we 
should be (I know that I may speak for other admirers 
as cordial as myself) for another admission into an English 
paradise 'under the greenwood tree'. But if you prefer to 
be or to remain TTOL^TCOV rpayu<a>TaTo<$ 1 no doubt you 
may ; for Balzac is dead, and there has been no such tragedy 
in fiction on anything like the same lines since he died. 
"Yours most sincerely, 


Three letters upon this same subject, written by Hardy 
himself to a close friend, may appropriately be given here. 




"November lo/A, 1895. 

". . . Your review (ofjude the Obscure) is the most 
discriminating that has yet appeared. It required an artist 
to see that the plot is almost geometrically constructed I 
ought not to say constructed, for, beyond a certain point, 
the characters necessitated it, and I simply let it come. 
As for the story itself, it is really sent out to those into 
whose souls the iron has entered, and has entered deeply 
at some time of their lives. But one cannot choose one's 

"It is curious that some of the papers should look upon 
the novel as a manifesto on 'the marriage question ' (al- 
though, of course, it involves it), seeing that it is concerned 
first with the labours of a poor student to get a University 
degree, and secondly with the tragic issues of two bad 
marriages, owing in the main to a doom or curse of hered- 
itary temperament peculiar to the family of the parties. 
1 The most tragic of authors. 


The only remarks which can be said to bear on the general 
marriage question occur in dialogue, and comprise no more 
than half a dozen pages in a book of five hundred. And of 
these remarks I state (p. 362) that my own views are not 
expressed therein. I suppose the attitude of these critics 
is to be accounted for by the accident that, during the 
serial publication of my story, a sheaf of 'purpose* novels 
on the matter appeared. 

"You have hardly an idea how poor and feeble the 
book seems to me, as executed, beside the idea of it that 
I had formed in prospect. 

"I have received some interesting letters about it 
already yours not the least so. Swinburne writes, too 
enthusiastically for me to quote with modesty. 

"Believe me, with sincere thanks for your review, 

"Ever yours, 


"P.S. One thing I did not answer. The * grimy - 
features of the story go to show the contrast between the 
ideal life a man wished to lead, and the squalid real life 
he was fated to lead. The throwing of the pizzle, at the 
supreme moment of his young dream, is to sharply initiate 
this contrast. But I must have lamentably failed, as I feel 
I have, if this requires explanation and is not self-evident. 
The idea was meant to run all through the novel. It is, 
in fact, to be discovered in everybody's life, though it lies 
less on the surface perhaps than it does in my poor 
puppet's. T. H." 




"November loth, 1895. 

"I am keen about the new magazine. How interesting 
that you should be writing this review for it ! I wish the 
book were more worthy of such notice and place. 


"You are quite right; there is nothing perverted or 
depraved in Sue's nature. The abnormalism consists in 
disproportion, not in inversion, her sexual instinct being 
healthy as far as it goes, but unusually weak and fastidi- 
ous. Her sensibilities remain painfully alert notwith- 
standing, as they do in nature with such women. One 
point illustrating this I could not dwell upon : that, though 
she has children, her intimacies with Jude have never 
been more than occasional, even when they were living 
together (I mention that they occupy separate rooms, 
except towards the end), and one of her reasons for fearing 
the marriage ceremony is that she fears it would be break- 
ing faith with Jude to withhold herself at pleasure, or 
altogether, after it ; though while uncontracted she feels 
at liberty to yield herself as seldom as she chooses. This 
has tended to keep his passion as hot at the end as at the 
beginning, and helps to break his heart. He has never 
really possessed her as freely as he desired. 

"Sue is a type of woman which has always had an 
attraction for me, but the difficulty of drawing the type 
has kept me from attempting it till now. 

"Of course the book is all contrasts or was meant to 
be in its original conception. Alas, what a miserable ac- 
complishment it is, when I compare it with what I meant 
to make it ! e.g. Sue and her heathen gods set against 
Jude's reading the Greek testament ; Christminster aca- 
demical, Christminster in the slums ; Jude the saint, Jude 
the sinner ; Sue the Pagan, Sue the saint ; marriage, no 
marriage ; &c., &c. 

"As to the * coarse' scenes with Arabella, the battle 
in the schoolroom, etc., the newspaper critics might, I 
thought, have sneered at them for their Fieldingism 
rather than for their Zolaism. But your everyday critic 
knows nothing of Fielding. I am read in Zola very little, 
but have felt akin locally to Fielding, so many of his 
scenes having been laid down this way, and his home near. 


"Did I tell you I feared I should seem too High- 
Churchy at the end of the book where Sue recants ? You 
can imagine my surprise at some of the reviews. 
"What a self-occupied letter ! 

"Ever sincerely, 

"T. H.a 



"January 4, 1896. 

"For the last three days I have been tantalized by a 
difficulty in getting Cosmopolis, and had only just read 
your review when I received your note. My sincere thanks 
for the generous view you take of the book, which to me 
is a mass of imperfections. We have both been amused 
or rather delighted by the sub-humour (is there such a 
word ?) of your writing. I think it a rare quality in living 
essayists, and that you ought to make more of it I mean 
write more in that vein than you do. 

"But this is apart from the review itself, of which I 
will talk to you when we meet. The rectangular lines of 
the story were not premeditated, but came by chance : 
except, of course, that the involutions of four lives must 
necessarily be a sort of quadrille. The only point in the 
novel on which I feel sure is that it makes for morality ; 
and that delicacy or indelicacy in a writer is according to 
his obj ect. If I say to a lady f I met a naked woman ', it is 
indelicate. But if I go on to say "I found she was mad 
with sorrow', it ceases to be indelicate. And in writing 
Jude my mind was fixed on the ending, 

"Sincerely yours, 

"T. H." 

In London in December they went to see Forbes- 
Robertson and Mrs. Patrick Campbell as Romeo and 
Juliet, supping with them afterwards at Willis's Rooms, 


a building Hardy had known many years earlier, when it 
was still a ballroom unaltered in appearance from that of 
its famous days as "Almack V indeed, he had himself 
danced on the old floor shortly after his first arrival in 
London in 1862, as has been mentioned. 

When they got back to Dorchester during December 
Hardy had plenty of time to read the reviews ofjude that 
continued to pour out. Some paragraphists knowingly 
assured the public that the book was an honest auto- 
biography, and Hardy did not take the trouble to deny it 
till more than twenty years later, when he wrote to an 
inquirer with whom the superstition still lingered that 
no book he had ever written contained less of his own life, 
which of course had been known to his friends from the 
beginning. Some of the incidents were real in so far as 
that he had heard of them, or come in contact with them 
when they were occurring to people he knew ; but no more. 
It is interesting to mention that on his way to school he 
did once meet with a youth like Jude who drove the bread- 
cart of a widow, a baker, like Mrs. Fawley, and carried on 
his studies at the same time, to the serious risk of other 
drivers in the lanes ; which youth asked him to lend him 
his Latin grammar. But Hardy lost sight of this featful 
student, and never knew if he profited by his plan. 

Hardy makes a remark on one or two of the reviews : 

"Tragedy may be created by an opposing environ- 
ment either of things inherent in the universe, or of human 
institutions. If the former be the means exhibited and 
deplored, the writer is regarded as impious ; if the latter, 
as subversive and dangerous ; when all the while he may 
never have questioned the necessity or urged the non- 
necessity of either. . . /- 

During this year 1 895, and before and after, Tess of the 
d'Urbervilks went through Europe in translations, Ger- 
man, French, Russian, Dutch, Italian, and other tongues, 
Hardy as a rule stipulating that the translation should be 


complete and unabridged, on a guarantee of which he 
would make no charge. Some of the renderings, however, 
were much hacked about in spite of him. The Russian 
translation appears to have been read and approved by 
Tolstoi during its twelve-months' career in a Moscow 
monthly periodical. 

In December he replied to Mr. W. T. Stead, editor of 
The Review of Reviews : 

"I am unable to answer your inquiry as to * Hymns 
that have helped me'. 

" But the undermentioned have always been familiar 
and favourite hymns of mine as poetry : 

" i. 'Thou turnest man, O Lord, to dust*. Ps. xc. vv. 
3, 4, 5, 6, (Tate and Brady.) 

"2. ' Awake, my soul, and with the sun.* (Morning 
Hymn, Ken.). 

"3. ' Lead, kindly Light/ (Newman.)" 

So ended the year 1895. 


1896-1897: Aet. 55-57 

HARDY found that the newspaper comments on Jude the 
Obscure were producing phenomena among his country 
friends which were extensive and peculiar, they having a 
pathetic reverence for press opinions. However, on re- 
turning to London in the spring he discovered somewhat 
to his surprise that people there seemed not to be at all 
concerned at his having been excommunicated by the 
press, or by at least a noisy section of it, and received him 
just the same as ever ; so that he and his wife passed this 
season much as usual, going to Lady Malmesbury's wed- 
ding and also a little later to the wedding of Sir George 
Lewis's son at the Jewish Synagogue ; renewing acquaint- 
ance with the beautiful Duchess of Montrose and Lady 
Londonderry, also attending a most amusing masked ball 
at his friends Mr. and Mrs. Montagu Crackanthorpe's, 
where he and Henry James were the only two not in 
dominos, and were recklessly flirted with by the women 
in consequence. 

This year they took again the house in South Kensing- 
ton they had occupied two years earlier, and gave some 
little parties there. But it being a cold damp spring Hardy 
caught a chill by some means, and was laid up with a 
rheumatic attack for several days, in May suffering from 
a relapse. He was advised to go to the seaside for a change 
of air, and leaving the London house in the charge of 

4 6 

AET. 55-57 MORE ON JUDE 47 

the servants went with Mrs. Hardy to lodgings at 

While there he received a request from the members 
of the Glasgow University Liberal Club to stand as their 
candidate in the election of a Lord Rector for the Univer- 
sity : the objection to Mr. Joseph Chamberlain, who had 
been nominated, being that he was not a man of letters. 
Hardy's reply to the Honorary Secretary was written 
from Brighton on May 16, 1896. 


"Your letter has just reached me here, where I am 
staying for a few days for change of air after an illness. 

" In reply let me assure you that I am deeply sensible 
of the honour of having been asked by the members of 
the Glasgow University Liberal Club to stand as their 
candidate for the Lord Rectorship. 

"In other circumstances I might have rejoiced at the 
opportunity. But personal reasons which it would be 
tedious to detail prevent my entertaining the idea of 
coming forward for the office, and I can only therefore 
request you to convey to the Club my regrets that such 
should be the case; and my sincere thanks for their 
generous opinion of my worthiness. 

"I am, dear Sir, 

"Yours faithfully, 


There they stayed about a week and, finding little 
improvement effected, returned to South Kensington. By 
degrees he recovered, and they resumed going out as usual, 
and doing as much themselves to entertain people as they 
could accomplish in a house not their own. This mostly 
took a form then in vogue, one very convenient for literary 
persons, of having afternoon parties, to the invitations to 
which their friends of every rank as readily responded as 


they had done in former years, notwithstanding the fact 
that at the very height of the season the Bishop of Wake- 
field announced in a letter to the papers that he had 
thrown Hardy's novel into the fire. Knowing the diffi- 
culty of burning a thick book even in a good fire, and the 
infrequency of fires of any sort in summer, Hardy was 
mildly sceptical of the literal truth of the bishop's story ; 
but remembering that Shelley, Milton, and many others of 
the illustrious, reaching all the way back to the days of 
Protagoras, had undergone the same sort of indignity at 
the hands of bigotry and intolerance he thought it a pity in 
the interests of his own reputation to disturb the episcopal 
narrative of adventures with Jude. However, it appeared 
that, further, to quote the testimony in the Bishop's 
Life the scandalised prelate was not ashamed to deal a 
blow below the belt, but " took an envelope out of his paper- 
stand and addressed it to W. F. D. Smith, Esq., M.P. 
The result was the quiet withdrawal of the book from the 
library, and an assurance that any other books by the 
same author would be carefully examined before they were 
allowed to be circulated/- Of this precious conspiracy 
Hardy knew nothing, or it might have moved a mind 
which the burning could not stir to say a word on literary 
garrotting* In his ignorance of it he remained silent, being 
fully aware of one thing, that the ethical teaching of the 
novel, even if somewhat crudely put, was as high as that 
of any of the bishop's sermons (indeed, Hardy was after- 
wards reproached for its being "too much of a sermon"). 
And thus feeling quite calm on the ultimate verdict of 
Time he merely reflected on the shallowness of the epis- 
copal view of the case and of morals generally, which 
brought to his memory a witty remark he had once read 
in a Times leading article, to the effect that the qualities 
which enabled a man to become a bishop were often the 
very reverse of those which made a good bishop when he 
became one. 


The only sad feature in the matter to Hardy was that 
if the bishop could have known him as he was, he would 
have found a man whose personal conduct, views oi 
morality, and of the vital facts of religion, hardly differed 
from his own. 1 

Possibly soured by all this he wrote a little while after 
his birthday : 

"Every man's birthday is a first of April for him ; and 
he who lives to be fifty and won't own it is a rogue or a 
fool, hypocrite or simpleton." 

At a party at Sir Charles Tennant's, to which Hardy 
and his wife were invited to meet the Eighty Club, Lord 
Rosebery took occasion in a conversation to inquire "why 
Hardy had called Oxford ' ChristminsterY' Hardy as- 
sured him that he had not done anything of the sort, 
"Christminster" being a city of learning that was cer- 
tainly suggested by Oxford, but in its entirety existed 
nowhere else in the world but between the covers of the 
novel under discussion. The answer was not so flippant 
as it seemed, for Hardy *s idea had been, as he often ex- 
plained, to use the difficulty of a poor man's acquiring 
learning at that date merely as the "tragic mischief" 
(among others) of a dramatic story, for which purpose an 
old-fashioned University at the very door of the poor man 
was the most striking method ; and though the architec- 
ture and scenery of Oxford were the best in England 

1 That the opinions thus expressed by Bishop How in 1895 are not now 
shared by all the clergy may be gathered from the following extract from 
an article in Theology, August, 1928 : 

" If I were asked to advise a priest preparing to become a village rector 
I would suggest first that he should make a good retreat . . . and then 
that he should make a careful study of Thomas Hardy's novels. . . . From 
Thomas Hardy he would learn the essential dignity of country people and 
what deep and often passionate interest belongs to every individual life. 
You cannot treat them in the mass: each single soul is to be the object of 
your special and peculiar prayer." 

The author of this article is an eminent clergyman of the Church of 


adapted for this, he did not slavishly copy them ; Indeed 
in some details he departed considerably from whatever 
of the city he took as a general model. It is hardly neces- 
sary to add that he had no feeling in the matter, and used 
Jude's difficulties of study as he would have used war, fire, 
or shipwreck for bringing about a catastrophe. 

fit has been remarked above that Hardy with his quick 
sense of humour could not help seeing a ludicrous side to 
his troubles over yude^ and an instance to that effect now 
occurred. The New York World had been among those 
papers that fell foul of the book in the strongest terms, the 
critic being a maiden lady who expressed herself thus : 

f^What has happened to Thomas Hardy ? . . * I am 
shocked, appalled by this story ! ... It is almost the 
worst book I ever read ... I thought that Tess of the 
d'Urbermlles was bad enough, but that is milk for babes 
compared to this. ... It is the handling of it that is the 
horror of it. ... I do not believe that there is a news- 
paper in England or America that would print this story 
of Thomas Hardy's as it stands in the book. Aside from 
its immorality there is coarseness which is beyond belief. 
. . . When I finished the story I opened the windows and 
let in the fresh air, and I turned to my bookshelves and I 
said : 'Thank God for Kipling and Stevenson, Barrie and 
Mrs. Humphry Ward. Here are four great writers who 
have never trailed their talents in the dirtV- 

It was therefore with some amazement that in the 
summer, after reading the above and other exclamations 
grossly maligning the book and the character of its author, 
to show that she would not touch him with a pair of tongs, 
he received a letter from the writer herself. She was in 
London, and requested him to let her interview him " to 
get your side of the argument-'. He answered: 

AET. 55-57 MORE ON JUDE 51 


"Mv DEAR MADAM : ">6> l6 > ^96. 

" I have to inform you in answer 

to your letter that ever since the publication of Jude the 
Obscure I have declined to be interviewed on the subject 
of that book ; and you must make allowance for human 
nature when I tell you that I do not feel disposed to de- 
part from this rule in favour of the author of the review of 
the novel in the New York World. 

"I am aware that the outcry against it in America was 
only an echo of its misrepresentation here by one or two 
scurrilous papers which got the start of the more sober 
press, and that dumb public opinion was never with these 
writers. But the fact remains that such a meeting would 
be painful to me and, I think, a disappointment to you. 

"Moreover, my respect for my own writings and repu- 
tation is so very slight that I care little about what hap- 
pens to either, so that the rectification of judgments, etc,, 
and the way in which my books are interpreted, do not 
much interest me. Those readers who, like yourself, could 
not see that Jude (though a book quite without a * pur- 
pose* as it is called) makes for morality more than any 
other book I have written, are not likely to be made to do 
so by a newspaper article, even from your attractive pen. 

"At the same time I cannot but be touched by your 
kindly wish to set right any misapprehension you may have 
caused about the story. Such a wish will always be cherished 
in my recollection, and it removes from my vision of you 
some obviously unjust characteristics I had given it in my 
mind. This is, at any rate on my part, a pleasant gain from 
your letter, whilst I am ' never the worse for a touch or two 
on my speckled hide* as the consequence of your review. 

"Believe me, dear Madam, 
"Yours sincerely, 



It may be interesting to give Miss Gilder's reply to 


"July 17, '9& 

" I knew that you were a great 

man, but I did not appreciate your goodness until I 
received your letter this morning. 

"Sincerely yours, 

Hardy must indeed have shown some magnanimity in 
condescending to answer the writer of a review containing 
such contumelious misrepresentations as hers had con- 
tained. But, as he said, she was a woman, after all one 
of the sex that makes up for lack of justice by excess of 
generosity and she had screamed so grotesquely loud in 
her article that Hardy's sense of the comicality of it had 
saved his feelings from being much hurt by the out- 
rageous slurs. 

Here, he thought, the matter had ended. But make the 
doors upon a woman's wit, and it will out at the casement. 
The amusing sequel to the episode was that the unsus- 
pecting Hardy was invited to an evening party a few days 
later by an American lady resident in London, and though 
he knew her but slightly he went, having nothing better to 
do. While he was talking to his hostess on the sofa a strange 
lady drew up her chair rather near them, and listened to the 
conversation, but did not join in it. It was not till after- 
wards that he discovered that this silent person had been 
his reviewer, who was an acquaintance of his entertainer, 
and that the whole thing had been carefully schemed. 

Various social events took them into and through 
July ; Hardy's chief pleasure, however, being none of 
these but a pretty regular attendance with his wife in this, 
as in other summers, at the Imperial Institute, not far 

AET. 55-57 MORE ON JUDE 53 

from their house, where they would sit and listen to the 
famous bands of Europe that were engaged year after year 
by the management, but were not, to Hardy's regret, suffi- 
ciently appreciated by the London public. Here one eve- 
ning they met, with other of their friends, the beautiful 
Mrs., afterwards Lady, Grove ; and the " Blue Danube" 
Waltz being started, Hardy and the latter lady danced 
two or three turns to it among the promenaders, who eyed 
them with a mild surmise as to whether they had been 
drinking or not. In such wise the London season drew to 
a close and was wound up, as far as they were concerned, 
with the wedding of one of Lady Jeune's daughters, Miss 
Dorothy Stanley, at St. George's, Hanover Square* to 
Mr. Henry Allhusen. 

When he reached Dorchester he paid a visit to his 
mother, on whom he remarks that she was well, but that 
"her face looked smaller". 

On the 1 2th August they left Dorchester for Malvern, 
where they put up at the Foley Arms, climbed the Beacon, 
Hardy on foot, Mrs. Hardy on a mule ; drove round the 
hills, visited the Priory Church, and thence went on to 
Worcester to see the Cathedral and Porcelain Works; 
after which they proceeded to Warwick and Kenilworth, 
stopping to correct proofs at the former place, and to go 
over the castle and church. A strange reminder of the 
transitoriness of life was given to Hardy in the church, 
where, looking through a slit by chance he saw the coffin 
of the then recent Lord Warwick, who, a most kindly man, 
some while before, on meeting him in London, had in- 
vited him to Warwick Castle, an invitation which he had 
been unable to accept at the time, though he had prom- 
ised to do so later. "Here I am at last", he said to the 
coffin as he looked ; "and here are you to receive me !" 
It made an impression on Hardy which he never forgot. 
They took lodgings for a week at Stratford-on-Avon 
and visited the usual spots associated with Shakespeare's 


name; going on to Coventry and to Reading, a town 
which had come into the life of Hardy's paternal grand- 
mother, who had lived here awhile; after which they went 
to Dover, where Hardy read King Lear, which was begun 
at Stratford. He makes the following observation on the 
play : 

"September 6. Finished reading King Lear. The 
grand scale of the tragedy, scenically, strikes one, and also 
the large scheme of the plot. The play rises from and after 
the beginning of the third act, and Lear's dignity with it. 
Shakespeare did not quite reach his intention in the King's 
character, and the splitting of the tragic interest between 
him and Gloucester does not, to my mind, enhance its 
intensity, although commentators assert that it does." 

" September 8. Why true conclusions are not reached, 
notwithstanding everlasting palaver : Men endeavour to 
hold to a mathematical consistency in things, instead of 
recognizing that certain things may both be good and 
mutually antagonistic: e.g., patriotism and universal 
humanity ; unbelief and happiness. 

"There are certain questions which are made un- 
important by their very magnitude. For example, the 
question whether we are moving in Space this way or 
that ; the existence of a God, etc/' 

Having remained at Dover about a fortnight they 
crossed to Ostend in the middle of September, and went 
on to Bruges. He always thought the railway station of 
this town the only satisfactory one in architectural design 
that he knew. It was the custom at this date to admire 
the brick buildings of Flanders, and Hardy himself had 
written a prize essay as a young man on Brick and Terra- 
Cotta architecture; but he held then, as always, that 
nothing can really compensate in architecture for the lack 
of stone, and would say on this point with perhaps some 
intentional exaggeration that the ashlar back-yards of 
Bath had more dignity than any brick front in Europe. 

AET. 55-57 MORE ON JUDE 55 

From Bruges they went on to Brussels, Namur, and 
Dinant, through scenes to become synonymous with 
desolation in the war of after years. 

"September^. At dinner at the public table [of the 
hotel] met a man possessed of the veritable gambling fever. 
He has been playing many days at the Casino (roulette 
and trente-et-quarante). He believes thoroughly in his 
' system', and yet, inconsistently, believes in luck : e.g., 36 
came into his head as he was walking down the street 
towards the Casino to-day; and it made him back it, and 
he won. He plays all the afternoon and all the evening. 
"His system appears to be that of watching for 
numbers which have not turned up for a long time ; but 
I am not sure. 

"He is a little man ; military looking ; large iron-grey 
moustache standing out detached ; iron-grey hair ; fresh 
crimson skin. Produces the book, ruled in vertical col- 
umns, in which he records results. Discusses his system 
incessantly with the big grey-bearded man near. Can 
talk of nothing else. , . . Has lost to-day 4500 francs. 
Has won back some is going to play to-night till he has 
won it all back, and if he can profit enough to pay the ex- 
penses of his trip on the Continent he will be satisfied. 
His friend with the beard, who seems to live in the hotel 
permanently, commends him by a nod and a word now 
and then, but not emphatically." 

" September 24. After breakfast unexpectedly saw the 
gambler standing outside the hotel-entrance without a 
hat, looking wild, and by comparison with the previous 
night like a tree that has suddenly lost its leaves. He 
came up to me ; said he had had no luck on the previous 
night ; had plunged, and lost heavily. He had not enough 
money left to take him home third-class. Is going to Monte 
Carlo in November with 2000 to retrieve his losses. . . . 

"We left between 12 and i. The gambler left at the 
same time by a train going in the opposite direction, and 


was carefully put into a third-class carriage by his friend 
of the hotel, who bought his ticket. He wore a green- 
grey suit and felt hat, looking bleak-faced and absent, and 
seemed passive in the other's hands. His friend is ap- 
parently a decoy from the Casino.'' 

Mrs. Hardy, not being a good walker, had brought 
her bicycle as many people did just then, bicycling being 
wildly popular at the time, and Flanders being level. 
After they had paid twenty-four francs duty at Ostend for 
importing it, it had several adventures in its transit from 
place to place, was always getting lost, and miraculously 
turned up again when they were just enjoying the relief of 
finding themselves free of it. At Liege it really did seem 
gone, Hardy having watched the transfer of all the lug- 
gage at a previous junction, and the bicycle not being 
among it. Having given up thinking of it they were 
hailed by an official, who took them with a mysterious 
manner to a store room some way off, unlocked it, and 
with a leer said, to Hardy's dismay : "Le veloze!"- How it 
had got there they did not know. 

At Spa they drove to the various fountains, examined 
the old gaming-house in the Rue Vauxhall where those 
that were now cold skeletons had burnt hot with the 
excitement of play, thought of the town's associations in 
fact and fiction, of the crowned heads of all the countries 
of Europe who had found their pleasure and cure at this 
Mother of Watering-places now shrunk small like any 
other ancient matron. 

Getting back to Brussels they put up for association's 
sake at the same hotel they had patronized twenty years 
before, but found it had altered for the worse since those 
bright days. Hardy again went out to Waterloo, which 
had been his chief reason for stopping at the Belgian 
capital, and no doubt made some more observations with 
a view to The Dynasts , to which he at this time had given 

AET. 55-57 MORE ON JUDE 57 

the provisional name of "Europe in Throes ". All he 
writes thereon in his pocket-book while in Brussels is : 

"Europe in Throes. 
"Three Parts. Five Acts each. 

"Characters: Burke, Pitt, Napoleon, George III., Well- 
ington . . . and many others." 

But he set down more copious notes for the drama else- 
where. It is believed he gave time to further conjectures 
as to the scene of the Duchess's Ball, which he had con- 
sidered when here before, and on which it may be re- 
membered there is a note in The Dynast s y ending, "The 
event happened less than a century ago, but the spot is 
almost as phantasmal in its elusive mystery as towered 
Camelot, the Palace of Priam, or the Hill of Calvary". 
Concerning the scene of the battle itself he writes : 
"October 2. To Field of Waterloo. Walked alone 
from the English line along the Charleroi Road to 'La 
Belle Alliance'. Struck with the nearness of the French 
and English lines to each other. Shepherds with their 
flocks and dogs, men ploughing, two cats, and myself, the 
only living creatures on the field." 

Returning homeward through Ostend a little later 
they found the hotels and shops closed and boarded up, 
and the Digue empty, Mrs. Hardy being the single 
woman bicyclist where there had been so many. 

"MAX GATE. October 17. A novel, good, microscopic 
touch in Crabbe [which would strike one trained in archi- 
tecture]. He gives surface without outline, describing 
his church by telling the colour of the lichens. 

"Poetry. Perhaps I can express more fully in verse 
ideas and emotions which run counter to the inert crystal- 
lized opinion hard as a rock which the vast body of 
men have vested interests in supporting. To cry out in 


a passionate poem that (for instance) the Supreme Mover 
or Movers, the Prime Force or Forces,, must be either 
limited in power, unknowing, or cruel which is obvious 
enough, and has been for centuries will cause them 
merely a shake of the head ; but to put it in argumenta- 
tive prose will make them sneer, or foam, and set all the 
literary contortionists jumping upon me, a harmless 
agnostic, as if I were a clamorous atheist, which in their 
crass illiteracy they seem to think is the same thing, . . . 
If Galileo had said in verse that the world moved, the 
Inquisition might have let him alone", 

"1897. January 27. To-day has length, breadth, 
thickness, colour, smell, voice. As soon as it becomes 
yesterday it is a thin layer among many layers, without 
substance, colour, or articulate sound. " 

" January 30. Somebody says that the final dictum of 
the 'Ion' of Plato is 'inspiration, not art*. The passage 
is 0etov KOI pr) rsyyiKov. And what is really meant by 
it is, I think, more nearly expressed by the words 'inspi- 
ration, not technicality 7 'art' being too comprehensive 
in English to use here/' 

"February 4. Title: 'Wessex Poems: with Sketches 
of their Scenes by the Author'." 

"February 10. In spite of myself I cannot help notic- 
ing countenances and tempers in objects of scenery, e.g. 
trees, hills, houses." 

"February 21. My mother's grandfather, Swetman 
a descendant of the Christopher Swetman of 1631 men- 
tioned in the History of the County as a small landed pro- 
prietor in the parish used to have an old black bedstead, 
with the twelve apostles on it in carved figures > each 
about one foot six inches high. Some of them got loose, 
and the children played with them as dolls. What 
became of that bedstead ?" 
, "March i. Make a lyric of the speech of Hyllus at the 

AET. 55-57 MORE ON JUDE 59 

close of the Trachiniae" (It does not appear that this 
was ever carried out.) 

At the beginning of March a dramatization of Tess of 
the d j Urbervilles was produced in America with much suc- 
cess by Mr. Fiske. About the same date Hardy went 
with Sir Francis Jeune to a banquet at the Mansion 
House in honour of Mr. Bayard, the American Ambassa- 
dor, on his leaving England, which Hardy described as a 
"brilliant gathering", though the night was so drenching 
and tempestuous as to blow off house-roofs and flood 
cellars. In the middle of the month a revised form of a 
novel of his which had been published serially in 1892 as 
The Pursuit of the Well-Beloved: A Sketch of a Tempera- 
mentj was issued in volume form as The Well-Beloved. 
The theory on which this fantastic tale of a subjective 
idea was constructed is explained in the preface to the 
novel, and again exemplified in a poem bearing the same 
name, written about this time and published with Poems 
of the* Past and the Present in 1901 the theory of the 
transmigration of the ideal beloved one, who only exists 
in the lover, from material woman to material woman 
as exemplified also by Proust many years later. Certain 
critics affected to find unmentionable moral atrocities in 
its pages, but Hardy did not answer any of the charges 
further than by defining in a letter to a literary periodical 
the scheme of the story somewhat more fully than he 
had done in the preface : 

"Not only was it published serially five years ago but 
it was sketched many years before that date, when I was 
comparatively a young man, and Interested in the Pla- 
tonic Idea, which, considering its charm and its poetry, 
one could well wish to be interested in always. . . * 
There is, of course, underlying the fantasy followed by the 
visionary artist the truth that all men are pursuing a 
shadow, the Unattainable, and I venture to hope that this 
may redeem the tragi-comedy from the charge of frivol- 


ity. . . . 'Avice* is an old name common in the county, 

and * Caro * (like all the other surnames) is an imitation of a 

local name . . . this particular modification having been 

adopted becauseofits resemblance to theltalianfor'dearY* 

In reply to an inquiry from an editor he wrote : 

"No: I do not intend to answer the article on The 

Well-Beloved. Personal abuse best answers itself. What 

struck me, next to its mendacious malice, was its mala- 

droitness, as if the writer were blinded by malignity. . . . 

Upon those who have read the book the review must have 

produced the amazed risibility I remember feeling at 

Wilding's assertions when as a youth I saw Footers 

comedy of The Liar. . . . There is more fleshliness in 

The Loves of the Triangles than in this story at least to 

me. To be sure, there is one explanation which should 

not be overlooked : a reviewer himself afflicted with 'sex 

mania' might review so a thing terrible to think of." 

Such were the odd effects of Hardy's introduction of 
the subjective theory of love into modern fiction, and so 
ended his prose contributions to literature (beyond two or 
three short sketches to fulfil engagements), his experi- 
ences of the few preceding years having killed all his 
interest in this form of imaginative work, which had ever 
been secondary to his interest in verse. 

A letter from him to Swinburne was written about this 
time, in which he says : 

"I must thank you for your kind note about my fan- 
tastic little tale [The Well-Beloved], which, if it can make, 
in its better parts 3 any faint claim to imaginative feeling, 
will owe something of such feeling to you, for I often thought 
of lines of yours during the writing ; and indeed, was not 
able to resist the quotation of your words now and then. 

"And this reminds me that one day, when examining 
several English imitations of a well-known fragment of 
Sappho, I interested myself in trying to strike out a better 
equivalent for it than the commonplace 'Thou, too, shalt 

55-57 MORE ON JUDE 61 

die', etc., which all the translators had used during the 
last hundred years. I then stumbled upon your c Thee, too, 
theyears shall cover*, and all my spirit for poetic pains died 
out of me. Those few words present, I think, the finest 
drama of Death and Oblivion, so to speak, in our tongue. 


" Believe me to be 

"Yours very sincerely, 


"P.S.I should have added that The Well-Edoved\$ 
a fanciful exhibition of the artistic nature, and has, I 
think, some little foundation in fact. I have been much 
surprised, and even grieved, by a ferocious review at- 
tributing an immoral quality to the tale. The writer's 
meaning is beyond me. T. H." 



1897-1898: Aet. 57-58 

THE misrepresentations of the last two or three years 
affected but little, if at al! 3 the informed appreciation of 
Hardy's writings, being heeded almost entirely by those 
who had not read him ; and turned out ultimately to be 
the best thing that could have happened ; for they well- 
nigh compelled him, in his own judgement at any rate, if 
he wished to retain any shadow of self-respect, to aban- 
don at once a form of literary art he had long intended to 
abandon at some indefinite time, and resume openly that 
form of it which had always been more instinctive with 
him, and which he had just been able to keep alive from 
his early years, half in secrecy, under the pressure of 
magazine writing. He abandoned it with all the less 
reluctance in that the novel was, in his own words, "grad- 
ually losing artistic form, with a beginning, middle, and 
end, and becoming a spasmodic inventory of items, which 
has nothing to do with art". 

The change, after all, was not so great as it seemed. It 
was not as if he had been a writer of novels proper, and 
as more specifically understood, that is, stories of modern 
artificial life and manners showing a certain smartness of 
treatment. He had mostly aimed at keeping his narratives 
close to natural life and as near to poetry in their subject 
as the conditions would allow, and had often regretted that 
those conditions would not let him keep them nearer still. 


66 VERSE 1897-98 

Nevertheless he had not known, whilst a writer of 
prose, whether he might not be driven to society novels, 
and hence, as has been seen, he had kept, at casual times, 
a record of his experiences in social life, though doing it 
had always been a drudgery to him. It was now with a 
sense of great comfort that he felt he might leave off 
further chronicles of that sort. But his thoughts on liter- 
ature and life were often written down still, and from his 
notes much of which follows has been abridged. 

He had already for some time been getting together 
the poems which made up the first volume of verse that he 
was about to publish. In date they ranged from 1865 in- 
termittently onwards, the middle period of his novel-writ- 
ing producing very few or none, but of late years they had 
been added to with great rapidity, though at first with 
some consternation he had found an awkwardness in get- 
ting back to an easy expression in numbers after abandon- 
ing it for so many years ; but that soon wore off. 

He and his wife went to London as usual this year 
(1897), but did not take a house there. After two or 
three weeks' stay they adopted the plan of living some 
way out, and going up and down every few days, the place 
they made their temporary centre being Basingstoke. 
In this way they saw London friends, went to concerts at 
the Imperial Institute (the ochestra this season being the 
famous Vienna band under Edouard Strauss), saw one or 
two Ibsen plays, and the year's pictures. Being near 
they also went over the mournful relics of that city of the 
past, Silchester ; till in the middle of June they started 
for Switzerland, thus entirely escaping the racket of the 
coming Diamond Jubilee, and the discomfort it would 
bring upon people like them who had no residence of their 
own in London. 

All the world, including the people of fashion habitu- 
ally abroad, was in London or arriving there, and the 
charm of a lonely Continent impressed the twain much* 


The almost empty Channel steamer, the ease with which 
they crossed France from Havre by Paris, Dijon, and 
Pontarlier to Neuchatel, the excellent rooms accorded 
them by obsequious hosts at the hotels in Switzerland, 
usually frequented by English and American tourists, 
made them glad they had come. On the actual day, the 
2oth, they were at Berne, where they celebrated it by 
attending a Jubilee Concert in the Cathedral, with the 
few others of their fellow-countryfolk who remained in 
the town. At Interlaken the comparative solitude was 
just as refreshing, the rosy glow from the Jungfrau, visible 
at three in the morning from Hardy's bedroom, seeming 
an exhibition got up for themselves alone ; and a pathetic 
procession of empty omnibuses went daily to and from 
each railway train between shops that looked like a ban- 
quet spread for people who delayed to come. They 
drove up the valley to Grindelwald, and having been con- 
veyed to Scheidegg, walked thence to the Wengern Alp 
overlooking the scene of Manfred where a baby had just 
been born, and where Hardy was more impressed by the 
thundering rumble of unseen avalanches on the immense 
Jungfrau immediately facing than by the sight of the 
visible ones. 

The next day, or the next following, The Times' ac- 
count of the celebration in London of Queen Victoria's 
Diamond Jubilee reached Hardy's hands, and he took it 
out and read it in the snowy presence of the maiden-mon- 
arch that dominated the whole place. 

It was either in the train as it approached Interlaken, 
or while he was there looking at the peak, that there 
passed through his mind the sentiments afterwards 
expressed in the lines called "The Schreckhorn : with 
thoughts of Leslie Stephen". 

After a look at Lauterbrunnen, the Staubbach, the 
Lake and Castle of Thun, they stopped at the Hotel 
Gibbon, Lausanne, Hardy not having that aversion from 

68 VERSE 1897-98 

the historian of the Decline and Fall which Ruskin recom- 
mended. He found that, though not much might remain 
of the original condition of the building or the site, the re- 
moter and sloping part of the garden, with its acacias and 
irregular contours, could not have been much changed 
from what it was when Gibbon haunted it, and finished 
his history. Accordingly his recaller sat out there till mid- 
night on June 27, and imagined the historian closing his 
last page on the spot, as described in his Autobiography: 

"It was on the day, or rather the night, of the 27th of 
June 1787, between the hours of eleven and twelve, that 
I wrote the last lines of the last page, in a summer house 
in my garden. After laying down my pen I took several 
turns in a berceau, or covered walk of acacias, which com- 
mands a prospect of the country, the lake, and the moun- 

It is uncertain whether Hardy chose that particular 
evening for sitting out in the garden because he knew that 
June 27th was Gibbon's date of conclusion, or whether 
the coincidence of dates was accidental. The later 
author's imaginings took the form of the lines subjoined, 
which were printed in Poems of the Past and the Present. 


In Gibbon's old garden: 11-12 p.m. 
June 27, 1897 

A spirit seems to pass, 
Formal in pose, but grave withal and grand : 
He contemplates a volume of his hand, 
And far lamps fleck him through the thin acacias. 

Anon the book is closed, 
With "It is .finished !" And at the alley's end 
He turns, and when on me his glances bend 
As from the Past comes speech small, muted, yet composed. 


"How fares the Truth now ? Ill ? 
Do pens but slily further her advance ? 
May one not speed her but in phrase askance ? 
Do scribes aver the Comic to be Reverend still ? 

"Still rule those minds on earth 
At whom sage Milton's wormwood words were hurled : 
* Truth like a bastard comes into the world 
Never without ill-fame to him who gives her birth* ?" * 

From Lausanne, making excursions to Ouchy, and by 
steamer to Territet, Chillon, Vevey, and other places on 
the lake, they afterwards left for Zermatt, going along the 
valley of the Rhone amid intense heat till they gradually 
rose out of it beside the roaring torrent of the Visp. That 
night Hardy looked out of their bedroom window in the 
Hotel Mt. Cervin, and "Could see where the Matterhorn 
was by the absence of stars within its outline", it being 
too dark to see the surface of the mountain itself although 
it stood facing him. He meant to make a poem of the 
strange feeling implanted by this black silhouette of the 
mountain on the pattern of the constellation ; but never 
did, so far as is known. However, the mountain inspired 
him to begin one sonnet, finished some time after that 
entitled "To the Matterhorn" the terrible accident on 
whose summit, thirty- two years before this date, had so 
impressed him at the time of its occurrence. 

While walking from Zermatt with a Russian gentle- 
man to the Riffel-Alp Hotel, whither Mrs. Hardy had 
preceded him on a pony, he met some English ladies, 
who informed him of the mysterious disappearance of an 

x The quotation is from The Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce, the 
passage running as follows: "Truth is as impossible to be soiled by any 
outward touch, as the sunbeam ; though this ill hap wait on her nativity, 
that she never comes into the world, but like a bastard, to the ignominy 
of him that brought her forth; till Time, the midwife rather than 
the mother of truth, have washed and salted the infant and declared her 

70 VERSE 1897-98 

Englishman somewhere along the very path he had been 
following. Having lunched at the hotel and set his wife 
upon the pony again he sent her on with the guide, and 
slowly searched all the way down the track for some clue 
to the missing man, afterwards writing a brief letter to 
The Times to say there was no sign visible of foul play 
anywhere on the road. The exertion of the search, after 
walking up the mountain-path in the hot morning sun, so 
exhausted his strength that on arriving at Geneva, 
whither they went after leaving Zermatt, he was taken so 
ill at the Hotel de la Paix that he had to stay in bed. 
Here as he lay he listened to the plashing of a fountain 
night and day just outside his bedroom window, the case- 
ments of which were kept widely open on account of the 
heat. It was the fountain beside which the Austrian Em- 
press was murdered shortly after by an Italian anarchist. 
His accidental nearness in time and place to the spot of 
her doom moved him much when he heard of it, since 
thereby hung a tale. She was a woman whose beauty, as 
shown in her portraits, had attracted him greatly in his 
youthful years, and had inspired some of his early verses, 
the same romantic passion having also produced the out- 
line of a novel upon her, which he never developed. 

While he was recovering at Geneva Mrs. Hardy found 
by chance the tomb of an ancestor who had died there. 
But of Geneva, its lake, Diodati, Montalegre, Ferney, 
and the neighbourhood, he merely remarks: "These 
haunts of the illustrious ! Ah, but they are gone now, and 
care for their chosen nooks no more !" 

Again in London in July he expressed views on scenery 
in the following letter : 

To the Editor of the "Saturday Review". 

"Sir, I am unable to reply to your inquiry on "The 
Best Scenery I know'. A week or two ago I was looking at 
the inexorable faces of the Jungfrau and the Matterhorn : 


a few days later at the Lake of Geneva with all its soft 
associations. But, which is "best 5 of things that do not 
compare at all, and hence cannot be reduced to a common 
denominator ? At any given moment we like best what 
meets the mood of that moment, 

"Not to be entirely negative, however, I may say 
that, in my own neighbourhood, the following scenes 
rarely or never fail to delight beholders : 

"i. View from Castle Hill, Shaftesbury. 

"2. View from Pilsdon Pen, 

"3. New Forest vistas near Brockenhurst. 

"4. The River Dart. 

"5. The coast from Trebarwith Strand to Beeny 
Cliff, Cornwall." 

From London he returned to Max Gate, and with 
Mrs. Hardy wandered off to Wells Cathedral, and on- 
wards to Frome and Longleat, whence after examining 
the library and the architecture heproceeded to Salisbury, 
a place in which he was never tired of sojourning, partly 
from personal associations and partly because its graceful 
cathedral pile was the most marked instance in England 
of an architectural intention carried out to the full. 

"August 10, Salisbury. Went into the Close late at 
night. The moon was visible through both the north and 
south clerestory windows to me standing on the turf on 
the north side. . . . Walked to the west front, and 
watched the moonlight creep round upon the statuary of 
the facade stroking tentatively and then more and 
more firmly the prophets, the martyrs, the bishops, the 
kings, and the queens. . . . Upon the whole the Close of 
Salisbury, under the full summer moon on a windless 
midnight, is as beautiful a scene as any I know in Eng- 
land or for the matter of that elsewhere. 

"Colonel T. W. Higginson of the United States, who 
is staying at the same hotel as ourselves, introduced him- 
self to us. An amiable, well-read man, whom I was glad to 

72 VERSE 1897-98 

meet. He fought in the Civil War. Went with him to 
hunt up the spot of the execution of the Duke of Bucking- 
ham, whose spirit is said to haunt King's House still." 
After re- visiting Stonehenge he remarks : 
"The misfortune of ruins to be beheld nearly always 
at noonday by visitors, and not at twilight. 

"August 10, continued. 'Thedaygoethaway . . . the 
shadows of the evening are stretched out . * . I set watch- 
men over you, saying, Hearken to the sound of the trum- 
pet. But they said. We will not hearken. Therefore hear, 
ye nations. ... To what purpose cometh there to me in- 
cense from Sheba, and the sweet cane from a far country ? 
Your burnt offerings are not acceptable, nor your sacri- 
fices sweet me/ Passages from the first lesson (Jer. 
vi.) at the Cathedral this afternoon. E. and I present. A 
beautiful chapter, beautifully read by the old Canon." 

"August 13. All tragedy is grotesque if you allow 
yourself to see it as such. A risky indulgence for any who 
have an aspiration towards a little goodness or greatness 
of heart ! Yet there are those who do." 

"August 15. It is so easy nowadays to call any force 
above or under the sky by the name of 'God' and so 
pass as orthodox cheaply, and fill the pocket !" 

In September he passed a few pleasant days in bicy- 
cling about the neighborhood with Mr. Rudyard Kipling, 
who had an idea just at that time that he would like to 
buy a house near Weymouth. They found a suitable 
house for sale at Rodwell, commanding a full view of 
Portland Roads; but difficulties arose when inquiries 
were made, and Mr. Kipling abandoned the idea. 

Bicycling was now in full spirit with the Hardys 
and, indeed, with everybody and many were the places 
they visited by that means. 

"October 10, Am told a singularly creepy story 
absolutely true, I am assured of a village girl near here 
who was about to be married* A watch had been given 


her by a former lover, his own watch, just before their 
marriage was prevented by his unexpected death of con- 
sumption. She heard it going in her box at waking on the 
morning of the wedding with the second lover, though it 
had not been touched for years. 

"Lizzy D [the monthly nurse who had attended at 

Hardy's birth] told my mother that she walked eighteen (?) 
miles the day after her own baby was born. . . . She was 
an excellent nurse, much in demand ; of infinite kind- 
heartedness, humour, and quaintness, and as she lived in 
a cottage quite near our house at Bockhampton, she as it 
were kept an eye upon the Hardy family always, and 
being her neighbour gave my mother the preference in 
clashing cases. She used to tell a story of a woman who 
came to her to consult her about the ghost of another 
woman she declared she had seen, and who ' troubled her' 
the deceased wife of the man who was courting her. 

"'How long hev 5 the woman been dead ?- 1 said. 

"Many years P 

"'Oh, that were no ghost. Now if she'd only been 
dead a month or two, and you were making her husband 
your fancy-man, there might have been something in 
your story. But Lord, much can she care about him after 
years and years in better company I'" 

To return to 1897. Nothing more of much account 
occurred to Hardy during its lapse, though it may be 
mentioned that Jude y of which only a mutilated version 
could be printed as a serial in England and America, ap- 
peared in a literal translation in Germany, running 
through several months of a well-known periodical in 
Berlin and Stuttgart without a single abridgment. 

"1898. February 5. Write a prayer, or hymn, to One 
not Omnipotent, but hampered; striving for our good, 
but unable to achieve it except occasionally.'* [This idea 
of a limited God of goodness, often dwelt on by Hardy, 
was expounded ably and at length in MacTaggart's Some 

74 VERSE 1897-98 

Dogmas of Religion several years later, and led to a friend- 
ship which ended only with the latter's death.] 

As the spring drew on they entered upon their yearly 
residence of a few months in London this time taking^ 
flat in Wynnstay Gardens, Kensington. Hardydj^ome 
reading at the British Mustuni^^^^i^^oT/ie Z)y- 
nasts y and incidentally stum^fM upon some details that 
suggested to him the Wa^noo episode embodied in a poem 
called "The Peasantys Confession". He also followed up 
the concerts at the/Imperial Institute mostly neglected by 
Londoners. One/visit gave him occasion for the following 
note, the orchestra this year being from the Scala, Milan : 

"Scene at the Imperial Institute this afternoon. Rain 
floating down in wayward drops. Not a soul except my- 
self having tea in the gardens. The west sky begins to 
brighten. The red, blue, and white fairy lamps are like 
rubies, sapphires, turquoises, and pearls in the wet. The 
leaves of the trees, not yet of full size, are dripping, and 
the waiting-maids stand in a group with nothing to do. 
Band playing a 'Contemplazione' by Luzzi." 

On June 24th, declining to write an Introduction to a 
proposed Library Edition of Fielding's novels, he remarks : 

"Fielding as a local novelist has never been clearly re- 
garded, to my mind : and his aristocratic, even feudal, 
attitude towards the peasantry (e.g., his view of Molly as 
a 'slut' to be ridiculed, not as a simple girl, as worthy a 
creation of Nature as the lovely Sophia) should be ex- 
hibited strongly. But the writer could not well be a work- 
ing novelist without his bringing upon himself a charge 
of invidiousness." 

Back in Dorset in July he resumed cycling more vigor- 
ously than ever, and during the summer went to Bristol, 
Gloucester, Cheltenham, Sherborne, Poole, Weymouth, 
and many other places sometimes with Mrs. Hardy, 
sometimes with his brother. 


In the middle of December Wessex Poems was pub- 
lished ; and verse being a new mode of expression with 
him in print he sent copies to friends, among them one to 
Leslie Stephen, who said : 

"It gave me a real pleasure. I am glad to think that 
you remember me as a friend. ... I am always pleased 
to remember that Far from the Madding Crowd came out 
under my command. I then admired the poetry which was 
diffused through the prose ; and can recognize the same 
note in the versified form. ... I will not try to criticize 
or distinguish, but will simply say that they have pleased 
me and reminded me vividly of the old time. I have, as you 
probably know, gone through much since then. . . ." 

1899-1900: Aet* 58-60 

IN the early week& of this year the poems were reviewed 
in the customary periodicals mostly in a friendly tone, 
even in a tone of respect, and with praise for many pieces 
in the volume ; though by some critics not without um- 
brage at Hardy's having taken the liberty to adopt an- 
other vehicle of expression than prose-fiction without 
consulting them. It was probably these reviews that 
suggested to Hardy several reflections on poetry and 
criticism about this time, and the following gleanings of 
his opinions are from the rough entries he made thereon. 
Some no doubt were jotted down hastily, and might have 
been afterwards revised. 

He observes that he had been under no delusion about 
the coldness and even opposition he would have to en- 
counter at any rate from some voices in openly issuing 
verse after printing nothing (with trifling exceptions) but 
prose for so many years. 

Almost all the fault-finding was, in fact, based on the 
one great antecedent conclusion that an author who has 
published prose first, and that largely, must necessarily 
express himself badly in verse, no reservation being added 
to except cases in which he may have published prose for 
temporary or compulsory reasons, or prose of a poetical 
kind, or have written verse first of all, or for a long time 



In criticism generally, the fact that the date of pub- 
lication is but an accident in the life of a literary creation, 
that the printing of a book is the least individual occur- 
rence in the history of its contents, is often overlooked. 
In its visible history the publication is what counts, and 
that alone. It is then that the contents start into being 
for the outside public. In the present case, although it 
was shown that many of the verses had been written be- 
fore their author dreamt of novels, the critics' view was 
little affected that he had " at the eleventh hour'', as they 
untruly put it, taken up a hitherto uncared for art. 

It may be observed that in the art-history of the cen- 
tury there was an example staring them in the face of a 
similar modulation from one style into another by a great 
artist. Verdi was the instance, "that amazing old man" 
as he was called. Someone of insight wrote concerning 
him: "'From the ashes of his early popularity, from // 
Trovatore and its kind, there arose on a sudden a sort of 
phoenix Verdi. Had he died at Mozart's death-age he 
would now be practically unknown." And another: 
"With long life enough Verdi might have done almost 
anything ; but the trouble with him was that he had only 
just arrived at maturity at the age of threescore and ten 
or thereabouts, so that to complete his life he ought to 
have lived a hundred and fifty years." 

But probably few literary critics discern the solidar- 
ity of all the arts. Curiously enough Hardy himself dwelt 
upon it in a poem that seems to have been little under- 
stood, though the subject is of such interest. It is called 
"Rome : The Vatican : Sala delle Muse" ; in which a sort 
of composite Muse addresses him : 

"Be not perturbed", said she. "Though apart in fame, 
I and my sisters are one.'* 

In short, this was a particular instance of the general 
and rather appalling conclusion to which he came had 

78 VERSE 1899-1900 

Indeed known before that a volume of poetry, by clever 
manipulation, can be made to support any a priori theory 
about its quality. Presuppose its outstanding feature to 
be the defects aforesaid ; instances can be found. Presup- 
pose, as here was done, that it is overloaded with deriv^- 
tions from the Latin or Greek when really bglaw^lihe 
average in such words ; they au>btr-^^ 
that Wordsworth is unorthodox : instances can be found ; 
that Byron is devout ;.kistances can also be found. [The 
foregoing paragraphs are abridged from memoranda 
which Hardy set down, apparently for publication; 
though he never published them.] 

He wrote somewhere: "There is no new poetry; but 
the new poet if he carry the flame on further (and if not 
he is no ntw poet) comes with a new note. And that 
new note it is that troubles the critical waters. 

"Poetry is emotion put into measure. The emotion 
must come by nature, but the measure can be acquired 
by art." 

In the reception of this and later volumes of Hardy's 
poems there was, he said, as regards form, the inevitable 
ascription to ignorance of what was really choice after full 
knowledge. That the author loved the art of concealing 
art was undiscerned. For instance, as to rhythm. Years 
earlier he had decided that too regular a beat was bad art. 
He had fortified himself in his opinion by thinking of the 
analogy of architecture, between which art and that of 
poetry he had discovered, to use his own words, that there 
existed a close and curious parallel, both arts, unlike some 
others, having to carry a rational content inside their artis- 
tic form. He knew that in architecture cunning irregu- 
larity is of enormous worth, and it is obvious that he 
carried on into his verse, perhaps in part unconsciously, 
the Gothic art-principle in which he had been trained 
the principle of spontaneity, found in mouldings, tracery, 
and such like resulting in tlie "unforeseen" (as it has 


been called) character of his metres and stanzas, that of 
stress rather than of syllable, poetic texture rather than 
poetic veneer ; the latter kind of thing, under the name of 
"constructed ornament", being what he, in common with 
every Gothic student, had been taught to avoid as the 
plague. He shaped his poetry accordingly, introducing 
metrical pauses, *ard reversed beats; and found for his 
trouble that some particular line of a poem exemplifying 
this principle was greeted with a would-be jocular remark 
that such a line "did not make for immortality". The 
same critic might have gone to one of our cathedrals (to 
follow up the analogy of architecture), and on discovering 
that the carved leafage of some capital or spandrel in the 
best period of Gothic art strayed freakishly out of its 
bounds over the moulding, where by rule it had no busi- 
ness to be, or that the enrichments of a string-course were 
not accurately spaced ; or that there was a sudden blank 
in a wall where a window was to be expected from formal 
measurement, have declared with equally merry con- 
viction, "This does not make for immortality". 

One case of the kind, in which the poem "On Stur- 
minster Foot-Bridge" was quoted with the remark that 
one could make as good music as that out of a milk-cart, 
betrayed the reviewer's ignorance of any perception that 
the metre was intended to be onomatopoeic, plainly as it 
was shown ; and another in the same tone disclosed that 
the reviewer had tried to scan the author's sapphics as 

If any proof were wanted that Hardy was not at this 
time and later the apprentice at verse that he was sup- 
posed to be, it could be found in an examination of his 
studies over many years. Among his papers were quanti- 
ties of notes on rhythm and metre : with outlines and ex- 
periments in innumerable original measures, some of 
which he adopted from time to time. These verse skele- 
tons were mostly blank, and only designated by the 

8o VERSE 1899-1900 

usual marks for long and short syllables, accentuations, 
etc., but they were occasionally made up of "nonsense 
verses" such as, he said, were written when he was a boy 
by students of Latin prosody with the aid of a " Gradus ". 
Lastly, Hardy had a born sense of humour, even a top 
keen sense occasionally : but his poetry was sometimes 
placed by editors in the hands qf *:evWej:s -deficient in 
that quality. Even if they w%e accustomed to Dickensian 
humour they were not -to SwJftta^.J!ence it unfortu- 
nately happened that verses of a satirical, dry, caustic, or 
farcical cast were regarded by them with the deepest 
seriousness. In, one case the tragic nature of his verse 
was instanced by the ballad called "The Bride-night 
Fire", or "The Fire at Tranter Sweatley V, the criticism 
being by an accomplished old friend of his own, Frederic 
Harrison, who deplored the painful nature of the bride- 
groom's end in leaving only a bone behind him. This 
piece of work Hardy had written and published when 
quite a young man, and had hesitated to reprint because 
of its two pronounced obviousness as a jest. 

But he had looked the before-mentioned obstacles in 
the face, and their consideration did not move him much. 
He had written his poems entirely because he liked doing 
them, without any ulterior thought ; because he wanted 
to say the things they contained and would contain. He 
offered his publishers to take on his own shoulders the risk 
of producing the volume, so that if nobody bought it they 
should not be out of pocket. They were kind enough to 
refuse this offer, and took the risk on themselves ; and 
fortunately they did not suffer. 

A more serious meditation of Hardy's at this time 
than that on critics was the following : 

"January (1899). No man's poetry can be truly 
judged till its last line is written. What is the last line ? 
The death of the poet. And hence there is this quaint 
consolation to any writer of verse that it may be imper- 


ishable for all that anybody can tell him to the contrary ; 
and that if worthless he can never know it, unless he be a 
greater adept at self-criticism than poets usually are/' 

Writing to Hardy in March about her late husband's 
tastes in literature Mrs. Coventry Patrnore observes : 
\. . . It shows how constant he was to his loves. 
^i he first met with the book vide ante] to 
1 896 he continu^ of Blue Eyes read aloud to 

him. Each time he felt the saw shock of surprise and 
pleasure at its consummate art arid, pathos. In illness, 
when he asked for A Pair of Blue Eye*\one knew he was 
able to enjoy again/* 

A correspondence on another matter than literature 
may be alluded to here. Mr, W. T. Stead had asked 
Hardy to express his opinion on "A Crusade of Peace" in 
a periodical he was about to publish under the name of 
War against War. In the course of his reply Hardy wrote : 

"As a preliminary, all civilized nations might at least 
show their humanity by covenanting that no horses 
should be employed in battle except for transport. Sol- 
diers, at worst, know what they are doing, but these 
animals are denied even the poor possibilities of glory 
and reward as a compensation for their sufferings." 

His reply brought upon Hardy, naturally, scoffs at his 
unpractical tender-heartedness, and on the other hand, 
strong expressions of agreement. 

In the following April (1899) the Hardys were again 
in London, where as in the previous year they took a flat 
in Wynnstay Gardens, though not the same one. They 
saw their friends as usual, on one of whom Hardy makes 
this observation after a call from him : 

"When a person has gone, though his or her presence 
was not much desired, we regret the withdrawal of the 
grain of value in him, and overlook the mass of chaff that 

82 VERSE 1899-1900 

spoilt it. We realize that the essence of his personality 
was a human heart, though the form was uninviting." 

"It would be an amusing fact, if it were not one that 
leads to such bitter strife, that the conception of a First 
Cause which the theist calls * God ', and the conception of 
the same that the so-styled atheist calls f no- God', are 
nowadays almost exactly id^r,tL<tl. So that only a minor 
literary question of terminology prevents their shaking 
hands in agreement, and dwelling together in unity ever 

At the beginning of June Hardy was staying at a 
country-house not many miles from London, and among 

the guests was the young Duchess of M , a lady of 

great beauty, who asked him if he would conduct her to 
the grave of the poet Gray, which was within a walk* 
Hardy did so and, standing half-balanced on one foot by 
the grave (as is well known, it was also that of Gray's 
mother), his friend recited in a soft voice the Elegy from 
the first word to the last in leisurely and lengthy clearness 
without an error (which Hardy himself could not have 
done without some hitch in the order of the verses). With 
startling suddenness, while duly commending her per- 
formance, he seemed to have lived through the experience 
before. Then he realized what it was that had happened : 
in love of recitation, attitude, and poise, tone of voice, 
and readiness of memory, the fair lady had been the 
duplicate of the handsome dairymaid who had insisted on 
his listening to her rehearsal of the long and tedious 
gospels, when he taught in the Sunday school as a youth 
of fifteen. What a thin veneer is that of rank and educa- 
tion over the natural woman, he would remark. 

On the 1 8th he met A. E. Housman (the Shropshire 
Lad) for the first time probably, and on the 2oth he 
visited Swinburne at Putney, of which visit he too briefly 
speaks ; observing, "Again much inclined to his engaging, 



fresh, frank, almost childlike manner. Showed me his in- 
te resting editions, and talked of the play he was writing. 
Promised to go again/' He also went a day or two later, 
pcssibly owing to his conversation with Swinburne 
(though he had been there before), to St. Mildred's, Bread 
Street, with Sir George Douglas, where Shelley and Mary 
Go^sin were married, and saw the register, with the sig- 
natures of'SsdsdG and his wife as witnesses. The church 
was almost unaltereH snrce* ems oet and Mary had knelt 
there, and the vestry absolutely soynot having even re- 
ceived a coat of paint as it seemed. Being probably in the 
calling mood he visited George Merediti\iust afterwards, 
and found him ' 'looking ruddy and well in^ve upper part ; 
quite cheerful, enthusiastic and warm. Woild gladly see 
him oftener, and must try to do so." At the end of the 
month he rambled in Westminster Abbey at midnight by 
the light of a lantern, having with some friends been ad- 
mitted by Miss Bradley through the Deanery. 

Hardy had suffered from rather bad influenza this 
summer in town, and it left an affection of the eye behind 
it which he had never known before ; and though he hoped 
it might leave him on his return to Dorchester it followed 
him there. He was, indeed, seldom absolutely free from it 

In July he replied to a communication from the Ra- 
tionalist Press Association, of which his friend Leslie 
Stephen was an honorary associate: 

"Though I am interested in the Society I feel it to be 
one which would naturally compose itself rather of writers 
on philosophy, science, and history, than of writers of 
imaginative works, whose effect depends largely on de- 
tachment. By belonging to a philosophic association 
imaginative writers place themselves in this difficulty, 
that they are misread as propagandist when they mean to 
be simply artistic and delineative." 

The pleasures of bicycling were now at their highest 

84 VERSE 1899-100 

appreciation., and many miles did Hardy and his wife, fyy 
other companions, cover during the latter part of tf, 
summer. He was not a long-distance cyclist, as was natu; , 
at fifty-nine, never exceeding forty to fifty miles a 
but he kept vigorously going within the limit, this 
and for several years after. His wife, though an i 
ent walker, could almost equal him in cycle distances. 

In October his sonnet on the departure of tlie troops 
for the Boer War, which h^ witnessed at Southampton, 
appeared in the Dauy Chronicle, and in November the 
very popular versos called "The Going of the Battery" 
were printed in the Graphic, the scene having been wit- 
nessed at Dor Chester. In December "The Dead Drum- 
mer" (afterwards called "Drummer Hodge") appeared 
in Literature, and "A Christmas Ghost Story" in the 
Westminster Gazette. 

The latter months of this same year (1899) were sad- 
dened for him by the sudden death of Sir Arthur Blom- 
field, shortly before the date which had been fixed for a 
visit to him at Broadway by Hardy and his wife. Thus 
was snapped a friendship which had extended over thirty- 
six years. 

Hardy's memoranda on his thoughts and movements 
particularly the latter which never reached the regu- 
larity of a diary had of late grown more and more fitful, 
and now (1900) that novels were past and done with, 
nearly ceased altogether, such notes on scenes and func- 
tions having been dictated by what he had thought prac- 
tical necessity ; so that it becomes difficult to ascertain 
what mainly occupied his mind, or what his social doings 
were. His personal ambition in a worldly sense, which had 
always been weak, dwindled to nothing, and for some years 
after 1895 or J ^9^ ^ e requested that no record of his life 
should be made. His verses he kept on writing from pleas- 
ure in them. The poetic fantasy entitled "The Souls of 
the Slain" was published in the Cornhillin the April of 


this year, and he and his wife went to London this month 
according to custom, though instead of taking a flat or 
house as in former years they stayed on at the West Cen- 
tral Hotel in Southampton Row. He possibly thought it 
advisable to economize, seeing that he had sacrificed the 
chance of making a much larger income by not producing 
more novels. When one considers that he might have 
made himself a man of affluence in a few years by taking 
the current of popularity as it served, writing "best 
sellers", and ringing changes upon the novels he had 
already written, his bias towards poetry must have been 
instinctive and disinterested. 

In a pocket-book of this date appears a diagram illus- 
trating "the language of verse'' : 

I Fanciful { Meditative | Sentimental | Passionate | 

Language of Common Speech. 

Poetic Diction 

and the following note thereon : 

"The confusion of thought to be observed in Words- 
worth's teaching in his essay in the Appendix to Lyrical 
Ballads seems to arise chiefly out of his use of the word 
' imagination '. He should have put the matter somewhat 
like this : In works of passion and sentiment (not 'imagina- 
tion and sentiment') the language of verse is the language 
of prose. In works of fancy (or imagination) , 'poetic dic- 
tion' (of the real kind) is proper, and even necessary. 
The diagram illustrates my meaning." 

For some reason he spent time while here in hunting 
up Latin hymns at the British Museum, and copies that 
he made of several have been found, of dates ranging from 
the thirteenth to the seventeenth century, by Thomas of 

86 VERSE 1899-1900 

Celano, Adam of S. Victor, John Mombaer, Jacob Baide, 
etc. That English prosody might be enriched by adapt- 
ing some of the verse-forms of these is not unlikely to 
have been his view. 

When they left London this year is uncertain, but we 
find Hardy at the latter part of July bicycling about 
Dorset with his friend, Mr. (later Sir) Hamo Thornycroft, 
and in August entertaining Mr. A, E. Housman, Mr. 
Clodd, and Sir Frederick Pollock, bicycling from Max 
Gate to Portland Bill and back in one day with the last 
named, a performance whose chief onerousness lay in 
roughness of road surface and steepness of gradient. 
Cycling went merrily along through August, September, 
and into October, mostly with Mrs. Hardy and other 
companions, reaching to the outskirts of the county and 
into Somerset, Devon, and Hants. In October, declining 
to be interviewed by the representative of the American 
National Red Cross Society, he wrote as a substitute : 

"A society for the relief of suffering is entitled to 
every man's gratitude; and though, in the past century, 
material growth has been out of all proportion to moral 
growth, the existence of your Society leaves one not alto- 
gether without hope that during the next hundred years 
the relations between our inward and our outward prog- 
ress may become less of a reproach to civilization." 

In the same month he replied to the Rev. J. Alexander 
Smith : 

"On referring to the incident in Tess of the d'Urber- 
villes to which you draw my attention, I do not find there 
anything more than an opinion, or feeling, on lay baptism 
by a person who was nettled at having his clerical minis- 
tration of the rite repulsed. The truth or error of his 
opinion is therefore immaterial. Nevertheless if it were 
worth while it might be plausibly argued that to refuse 
clerical performance and substitute lay performance not 
from necessity but from pure obstinacy (as he held), might 


deprive that particular instance of lay baptism of its 

At the very close of the year Hardy's much admired 
poem on the Century's End, entitled "The Darkling 
Thrush ", was published in a periodical. 



1901-1903 : Aet. 60-63 

MAY found them in London, and hearing music. At an 
Ysaye Concert at Queen's Hall a passage in the descriptive 
programme evidently struck him whether with amuse- 
ment at the personifications in the rhetoric, or admiration 
for it, is not mentioned for he takes the trouble to copy it : 
"'The solo enters at the twelfth bar. . . . Later in 
the movement a new theme is heard a brief episode, the 
thematic material of the opening sufficing the composer's 
needs. In the Adagio the basses announce and develop a 
figure. Over this the soloists and first violins enter ', etc. 
(Bach's Concerto in E.) I see them : black-headed, lark- 
spurred fellows, marching in on five wires. 

"May n. Leslie Stephen says: 'The old ideals have 
become obsolete, and the new are not yet constructed. . , . 
We cannot write living poetry on the ancient model. The 
gods and heroes are too dead, and we cannot seriously 
sympathize with . . . the idealized prize-fighter/ " 

A few days later Hardy chronicles a feat of execution 
by Kubelik at a concert he attended at St. James's Hall 
that of playing " pizzicato" on his violin the air of 
"The Last Rose of Summer " with Ernst's variations, and 
fingering and bowing a rapid accompaniment at the same 
time. At Mr. Maurice Hewlett's Madame Sarah Bern- 
hardt talked to him pensively on her consciousness that 


she was getting old, but on his taking his wife a day or two 
later to see her as the Due in M. Rostand's UAiglon she 
appeared youthful enough, he said, "though unfortu- 
nately too melodramatically lime-lighted fornaturalness ". 

At the end of the month the well-known literary and 
journalistic fraternity called the Whitefriars Club paid 
Hardy a visit at Max Gate, where they were entertained 
in a tent on the lawn. To diversify their journey from 
London they had travelled the last ten miles by road in 
open carriages, and the beautiful new summer dresses of 
the ladies were encrusted with dust. But nobody minded 
except perhaps some of the ladies themselves and the 
visit was a most lively one, though the part of the country 
they had driven through was not the most picturesque 

Thomas Hardy's mother, now in her eighty-eighth 
year, was greatly interested to hear of this visit of the 
Club to the home of her son. Her devoted daughters, 
Mary and Katherine, promised to take her in her wheeled 
chair, for she was no longer able to walk abroad as 
formerly, to see the carriages drive past the end of a lane 
leading from Higher Bockhampton to the foot of Yellow- 
ham Hill, some three miles from Max Gate. 

On the day appointed, the chair, its two attendants, 
and its occupant, a little bright-eyed lady in a shady hat, 
waited under some trees bordering the roadside for the 
members of the Whitefriars Club to pass. 

Mrs. Hardy had announced gaily that she intended to 
wave her handkerchief to the travellers, but her more 
sedate daughters urged that this was not to be done. 
However, as soon as the dusty vehicles had whirled past 
the old lady pulled out a handkerchief which she had 
concealed under the rug covering her knees, and waved it 
triumphantly at the disappearing party. So unquench- 
able was her gay and youthful spirit even when approach- 
ing her ninetieth year. 

90 VERSE 1901-03 

Long afterwards one member of the visiting party said 
to the present writer : "If we had known who that was, 
what cheers there would have been, what waving of 
handkerchiefs, what a greeting for Thomas Hardy's 

In a letter on Rationalism written about this time, but 
apparently not sent, he remarks : 

"My own interest lies largely in non-rationalistic sub- 
jects, since non-rationality seems, so far as one can per- 
ceive, to be the principle of the Universe. By which I do 
not mean foolishness, but rather a principle for which 
there is no exact name, lying at the indifference point 
between rationality and irrationality." 

In reply to the letter of an inquirer as to the preserva- 
tion of the prospect from Richmond Hill, he wrote, loth 
June 1901 : 

"I have always been in love with Richmond Hill the 
Lass included and though I think I could produce a few 
specimens from this part of the country that would be 
fairly even with it, or her, in point of beauty, I am grieved 
to hear that the world-famed view is in danger of dis- 
figurement. I cannot believe that any such foolish local 
policy will be persevered in." 

To Dr. Arnaldo Cervesato of Rome : 

"June 20, 1901. 

"I do not think that there will be any permanent re- 
vival of the old transcendental ideals ; but I think there 
may gradually be developed an Idealism of Fancy ; that is, 
an idealism in which fancy is no longer tricked out and 
made to masquerade as belief, but is frankly and honestly 
accepted as an imaginative solace in the lack of any sub- 
stantial solace to be found in life." 

"July 8. Pictures. My weakness has always been to 
prefer the large intention of an unskilful artist to the 



trivial intention of an accomplished one : in other words, I 
am more interested in the high ideas of a feeble executant 
than in the high execution of a feeble thinker." 

During the seven weeks ensuing he was preparing for 
the press a number of lyrics and other verses which had 
accumulated since Wessex Poems appeared, and sent off 
the manuscript to the publishers at the end of August. 
It was published in the middle of November under the 
title of Poems of the Past and the Present. He seems to 
have taken no notice of the reception accorded to the 
book by the press, though it might have flattered him to 
find that some characteristic ideas in this volume which 
he never tried to make consistent such as in the^ pieces 
entitled "The Sleep-worker", "The Lacking Sense", 
"Doom and She", and others ideas that were further 
elaborated in The Dynasts, found their way into many 
prose writings after this date. 

On the last day of the year he makes the following 
reflection : "After reading various philosophic systems, 
and being struck with their contradictions and futilities, 
I have come to this : Let every man make a philosophy for 
himself out of his own experience. He will not be able to 
escape using terms and phraseology from earlier phi- 
losophers, but let him avoid adopting their theories if he 
values his own mental life. Let him remember the fate of 
Coleridge, and save years of labour by working out his 
own views as given him by his surroundings." 

"January i (1902). A Pessimist's apology. Pessi- 
mism (or rather what is called such) is, in brief, playing 
the sure game. You cannot lose at it ; you may gain. It is 
the only view of life in which you can never be disap- 
pointed. Having reckoned what to do in the worst pos- 
sible circumstances, when better arise, as they may, 
life becomes child's play/' 

In reply this month to a writer in the Parisian Revue 

92 VERSE 1901-03 

Bleue he gave it as his opinion that the effect of the South 
African War on English literature had been : 

"A vast multiplication of books on the war itself, and 
the issue of large quantities of warlike and patriotic 
poetry. These works naturally throw into the shade 
works that breathe a more quiet and philosophic spirit ; 
a curious minor feature in the case among a certain class 
of writers being the disguise under Christian terminology 
of principles not necessarily wrong from the point of view 
of international politics, but obviously anti-Christian, 
because inexorable and masterful/' 

In view of the approaching centenary of Victor Hugo's 
birth, Hardy, amongst other European men of letters, 
was asked at this time by a Continental paper for a brief 
tribute to the genius of the poet ; and he sent the following : 

"His memory must endure. His works are the cathe- 
drals of literary architecture, his imagination adding 
greatness to the colossal and charm to the small/* 

"March. Poetry. There is a latent music in the sin- 
cere utterance of deep emotion, however expressed, which 
fills the place of the actual word-music in rhythmic 
phraseology on thinner emotive subjects, or on subjects 
with next to none at all. And supposing a total poetic 
effect to be represented by a unit, its component fractions 
may be either, say : 

"Emotion three-quarters, plus Expression one quar- 
ter, or 

" Emotion one quarter, plus Expression three-quarters. 

"This suggested conception seems to me to be the 
only one which explains all cases, including those in- 
stances of verse that apparently infringe all rules, and yet 
bring unreasoned convictions that they are poetry." 

In April of this year he was writing "A Trampwoman's 
Tragedy" a ballad based on some local story of an event 


more or less resembling the incidents embodied, which 
took place between 1820 and 1830. Hardy considered 
this, upon the whole, his most successful poem. 

To Mr. (afterwards Sir) Rider Haggard, who was in- 
vestigating the conditions of agriculture and agricultural 
labourers, he gave the following information : 

"March 1902. 

"As to your first question, my 

opinion on the past of the agricultural labourers in this 
county : I think, indeed know, that down to 1850 or 1855 
their condition was in general one of great hardship. I say 
in general, for there have always been fancy-farms, re- 
sembling St. Clair's in Uncle Tom's Cabin, whereon they 
lived as smiling exceptions to those of their class all 
around them. I recall one such, the estate-owner being 
his own farmer, and ultimately ruining himself by his 
hobby. To go to the other extreme : as a child I knew a 
sheep-keeping boy who to my horror shortly afterwards 
died of want the contents of his stomach at the autopsy 
being raw turnip only. His father's wages were six shil- 
lings a week, with about two pounds at harvest, a cottage 
rent free, and an allowance of thorn faggots from the 
hedges as fuel. Between these examples came the great 
bulk of farms wages whereon ranged from seven to nine 
shillings a week, and perquisites being better in proportion. 
"Secondly: as to the present. Things are of course 
widely different now. I am told that at the annual hiring- 
fair just past, the old positions were absolutely reversed, 
the farmers walking about and importuning the la- 
bourers to come and be hired, instead of, as formerly, 
the labourers anxiously entreating the stolid farmers to 
take them on at any pittance. Their present life is almost 
without exception one of comfort, if the most ordinary 
thrift be observed. I could take you to the cottage of a 
shepherd not many miles from here that has a carpet and 

94 VERSE 1901-03 

brass-rods to the staircase, and from the open door of which 
you hear a piano strumming within. Of course bicycles 
stand by the doorway., while at night a large paraffin lamp 
throws out a perfect blaze of light upon the passer-by. 

"The son of another labourer I know takes dancing 
lessons at a quadrille-class in the neighbouring town. 
Well, why not ? 

"But changes at which we must all rejoice have 
brought other changes which are not so attractive. The 
labourers have become more and more migratory the 
younger families in especial, who enjoy nothing so much 
as fresh scenery and new acquaintance. The conse- 
quences are curious and unexpected. For one thing, vil- 
lage tradition a vast mass of unwritten folk-lore, local 
chronicle, local topography, and nomenclature is abso- 
lutely sinking, has nearly sunk, into eternal oblivion. I 
cannot recall a single instance of a labourer who still lives 
on the farm where he was born, and I can only recall a few 
who have been five years on their present farms. Thus 
you see, there being no continuity of environment in their 
lives, there is no continuity of information, the names, 
stories, and relics of one place being speedily forgotten 
under the incoming facts of the next. For example, if 
you ask one of the workfolk (they always used to be called 
' workfolk' hereabout 'labourers' is an imported word) 
the names of surrounding hills, streams ; the character 
and circumstances of people buried in particular graves ; 
at what spots parish personages lie interred ; questions on 
local fairies, ghosts, herbs, etc., they can give no answer : 
yet I can recollect the time when the places of burial even 
of the poor and tonibless were all remembered, and the 
history of the parish and squire's family for 150 years 
back known. Such and such ballads appertained to such 
and such a locality, ghost tales were attached to particu- 
lar sites, and nooks wherein wild herbs grew for the cure 
of divers maladies were pointed out readily. 


"On the subject of the migration to the towns I think I 
have printed my opinions from time to time : so that I will 
only say a word or two about it here. In this considera- 
tion the case of the farm-labourers merges itself in that of 
rural cottagers generally, including jobbing labourers, 
artizans, and nondescripts of all sorts who go to make up 
the body of English villagery. That these people have re- 
moved to the towns of sheer choice during the last forty 
years it would be absurd to argue, except as to that per- 
centage of young, adventurous, and ambitious spirits 
among them which is found in all societies. The prime 
cause of the removal is, unquestionably, insecurity of 
tenure. If they do not escape this in the towns it is not 
fraught with such trying consequences there as in a vil- 
lage, whence they may have to travel ten or twenty miles 
to find another house and other work. Moreover, if in a 
town lodging an honest man's daughter should have an 
illegitimate child, or his wife should take to drinking, he 
is not compelled by any squire to pack up his furniture 
and get his living elsewhere, as is, or was lately, too often 
the case in the country. (I am neither attacking nor de- 
fending this order of things ; I merely relate it : the land- 
lord sometimes had reason on his side; sometimes not). 

"Now why such migrations to cities did not largely 
take place till within the last forty years or so is, I think 
(in respect of farm labourers), that they had neither the 
means nor the knowledge in old times that they have now. 
And owing to the then stability of villagers of the other 
class such as mechanics and small traders, the backbone 
of village life they had not the inclination. The tenure 
of these latter was, down to about fifty years ago, a fairly 
secure one, even if they were not in the possession of small 
freeholds. The custom of granting leaseholds for three 
lives, or other life-holding privileges, obtained largely in 
our villages, and though tenures by lifehold may not be 
ideally good or fair, they did at least serve the purpose of 

9 6 VERSE 1901-03 

keeping the native population at home. Villages in which 
there is not now a single cottager other than a weekly 
tenant were formerly occupied almost entirely on the life- 
hold principle, the term extending over seventy or a hun- 
dred years; and the young man who knows that he is 
secure of his father's and grandfather's cottage for his 
own lifetime thinks twice and three times before he em- 
barks on the uncertainties of a wandering career. Now 
though,, as I have said, these cottagers were not often 
farm labourers, their permanency reacted on the farm 
labourers, and made their lives with such comfortable 
associates better worth living. 

"Thirdly : as to the future, the evils of instability, and 
the ultimate results from such a state of things, it hardly 
becomes me to attempt to prophesy here. That remedies 
exist for them and are easily applicable you will easily 
gather from what I have stated above." 

"April 20. Vagg Hollow, on the way to Load Bridge 
(Somerset) is a place where * things ' used to be seen 
usually taking the form of a wool-pack in the middle of 
the road. Teams and other horses always stopped on the 
brow of the hollow, and could only be made to go on by 
whipping. A waggoner once cut at the pack with his 
whip : it opened in two, and smoke and a hoofed figure 
rose out of it." 

"May i. Life is what we make it as Whist is what we 
make it ; but not as Chess is what we make it ; which 
ranks higher as a purely intellectual game than either 
Whist or Life." 

Letter sent to and printed in The Academy and Liter a- 
ture. May 17, 1902, concerning a review of Maeterlinck's 
Apology for Nature ; 



"In your review of M. Maeterlinck's book you 
quote with seeming approval his vindication of Nature's 
ways, which is (as I understand it) to the effect that, 
though she does not appear to be just from our point of 
view, she may practise a scheme of morality unknown to 
us, in which she is just. Now, admit but the bare possi- 
bility of such a hidden morality, and she would go out of 
court without the slightest stain on her character, so 
certain should we feel that indifference to morality was 
beneath her greatness. 

"Far be it from my wish to distrust any comforting 
fantasy, if it can be barely tenable. But alas, no pro- 
found reflection can be needed to detect the sophistry in 
M. Maeterlinck's argument, and to see that the original 
difficulty recognized by thinkers like Schopenhauer, 
Hartmann, Haeckel, etc., and by most of the persons 
called pessimists, remains unsurmounted. 

"Pain has been, and pain is : no new sort of morals in 
Nature can remove pain from the past and make it pleasure 
for those who are its infallible estimators, the bearers 
thereof. And no injustice, however slight, can be atoned 
for by her future generosity, however ample, so long as we 
consider Nature to be, or to stand for, unlimited power. 
The exoneration of an omnipotent Mother by her retro- 
spective justice becomes an absurdity when we ask, what 
made the foregone injustice necessary to her Omnipotence ? 

" So you cannot, I fear, save her good name except by 
assuming one of two things : that she is blind and not a 
judge of her actions, or that she is an automaton, and 
unable to control them : in either of which assumptions^ 
though you have the chivalrous satisfaction of screening 
one of her sex, you only throw responsibility a stage 
further back. 

"But the story is not new. It is true, nevertheless^ 
that, as M, Maeterlinck contends, to dwell too long amid 

98 VERSE 1901-03 

such reflections does no good* and that to model our con- 
duct on Nature's apparent conduct, as Nietzsche would 
have taught, caa only bring disaster to humanity. 
"Yours truly, 



In June Hardy was engaged in a correspondence in the 
pages of the Dorset County Chronicle on Edmund Kean's 
connection with Dorchester, which town he visited as a 
player before he became famous, putting up with his wife 
and child at an inn called "The Little Jockey" on Glyde- 
Path Hill (standing in Hardy's time). His child died 
whilst here, and was buried in Trinity Churchyard near 
at hand. The entry in the Register runs as follows : 

"Burials in the Parish of Holy Trinity in Dorchester 
in the County of Dorset in the year 1813 : 

"Name, Howard, son of Edmund and Mary Kean. 
Abode, Residing at Glyde Path Hill in this Parish. 
When buried, Nov. 24. Age 4. By whom the Ceremony 
was performed, Henry John Richman." 

Readers of the life of Kean will remember the heavi- 
ness of heart with which he noted his experience at Dor- 
chester on this occasion that it was a very wet night, 
that there was a small audience, that, unless we are mis- 
taken, the play was Coriolanus (fancy playing Coriolanus 
at Dorchester now!), that he performed his part badly. 
Yet he was standing on the very brink of fame, for it was 
on this very occasion that the emissary from Old Drury 
Arnold, the stage manager witnessed his performance, 
and decided that he was the man for the London boards, 

In his letters to the paper under the pseudonym of 
"History*' Hardy observed : 

"Your correspondent "Dorset- who proposes to 'turn 
the hose' upon the natural interest of Dorchester people 
in Edmund Kean, should, I think, first turn the hose upon 


his own uncharitableness. His contention amounts to 
this, that because one of the greatest, if not the very great- 
est, of English tragedians was not without blemish in his 
morals, no admiration is to be felt for his histrionic achieve- 
ments or regard for the details of his life. So, then, Lord 
Nelson should have no place in our sentiment, nor Burns, 
nor Byron not even Shakespeare himself nor unhappily 
many another great man whose flesh has been weak. 
With amusing maladroitness your correspondent calls 
himself by the name of the county which has lately com- 
memorated King Charles the Second a worthy who 
seduced scores of men's wives to Kean's one. 

"Kean was, in truth, a sorely tried man, and it is no 
wonder that he may have succumbed. The illegitimate 
child of a struggling actress, the vicissitudes and hard- 
ships of his youth and young manhood left him without 
moral ballast when the fire of his genius brought him 
success and adulation. The usual result followed, and 
owing to the publicity of his life it has been his mis- 
fortune ever since to have, like Cassius in Julius C<zsar y 

All his faults observed, 
Set in a note-book, learn'd and conn'd by rote, 

by people who show the Christian feeling of your corre- 

The following week Hardy sent a supplementary note : 
"One word as to the building [in Dorchester] in which 
Kean performed in 1813. There is little doubt that it was 
in the old theatre yet existing [though not as such], stage 
and all, at the back of Messrs. Godwin's china shop ; and 
for these among other reasons. A new theatre in North 
Square [Qy. Back West Street?], built by Curme, was 
opened in February 1828, while there are still dwellers in 
Dorchester who have heard persons speak of seeing plays 
in the older theatre about 1821 or 1822, Kean's visit 
having been only a few years earlier/ 2 

ioo VERSE 1901-03 

During the latter half of this year 1902 Hardy was 
working more or less on the first part of The Dynasts, 
which, was interrupted in August and September by bicy- 
cle trips, and in October by a short stay in Bath, where 
the cycling was continued. On one of these occasions 
having reached Bristol by road, and suddenly entered on 
the watered streets, he came off in to the mud with a side- 
slip, and was rubbed down by a kindly coal-heaver with 
one of his sacks. In this condition he caught sight of 
some rare old volume in a lumber-shop ; and looking him 
up and down when he asked the price, the woman who 
kept the shop said: "Well, sixpence won't hurt ye, I 
suppose?" He used to state that if he had proposed 
threepence he would doubtless have got the volume. 

To a correspondent who was preparing a Report on 
Capital Punishment for the Department of Economics, 
Stanford University, California, and who asked for the 
expression of his opinion on the advisability of abolishing 
it in highly civilized communities, he replied about this 

"As an acting magistrate I think that Capital Punish- 
ment operates as a deterrent from deliberate crimes 
against life to an extent that no other form of punishment 
can rival. But the question of the moral right of a com- 
munity to inflict that punishment is one I cannot enter 
into in this necessarily brief communication." 

It may be observed that the writer describes himself 
as an "acting magistrate", yet he acted but little at ses- 
sions. He was not infrequently, however, on Grand Juries 
at the Assizes, where he would meet with capital offences. 

Returning to the country in July he sat down to finish 
the first part of The Dynasts , the MS. of which was sent 
to the Messrs. Macmillan at the end of September. He 
then corrected the proofs of "A Trampwornan's Tragedy" 
for the North American Review > in which pages it was pub- 


lished in November. When the ballad was read in England 
by the few good judges who met with it, they reproached 
Hardy with sending it out of the country for publication, 
not knowing that it was first offered to the Cornhill 
Magazine, and declined by the editor on the ground of it 
not being a poem he could possibly print in a family 
periodical. That there was any impropriety in the verses 
had never struck the author at all, nor did it strike any 
readers, so far as he was aware. 

In December he answered an inquiry addressed to him 
by the editor of L'Europeen, an international journal 
published in Paris : 

"I would say that I am not of opinion that France is 
in a decadent state. Her history seems to take the form 
of a serrated line, thus : 

and a true judgement of her general tendency cannot be 
based on a momentary observation, but must extend 
over whole periods of variation. 

"What will sustain France as a nation is, I think, her 
unique accessibility to new ideas, and her ready power of 
emancipation from those which reveal themselves to be 

In the same month of December the first part of The 
Dynasts was published. 

It was some time in this year that Hardy, in concur- 
rence with his brother and sisters, erected in Stinsford 
Church a brass tablet to commemorate the connection of 
his father, grandfather, and uncle with the musical serv- 
ices there in the early part of the previous century the 
west gallery, wherein their ministrations had covered 
altogether about forty years, having been removed some 

ioa VERSE 1901-03 

sixty years before this date. The inscription on the brass 
runs as follows : 

Memoriae Sacrum Thomae Hardy* patris Jacob! et Thomae 
filiorum qui olim in * hac Ecclesia per annos quadraginta 
(MDCCCII MDCCCXLI) fidicinis munere sunt perfuncti. 
Ponendum curaverunt Thomae junioris - filii - et filiae : Thomas : 
Henrietta : Maria : Catherina. MDCCCCIII. 

In drawing up this inscription Hardy was guided by 
his belief that the English language was liable to undergo 
great alterations in the future^ whereas Latin would re- 
main unchanged. 


1904-1905 : Aet. 63-65 

As The Dynasts contained ideas of some freshness, and was 
not a copy of something else, a large number of critics were 
too puzzled by it to be unprejudiced. The appraisement of 
the work was in truth, while nominally literary, at the core 
narrowly Philistine, and even theosophic. Its author had 
erroneously supposed that by writing a frank preface on 
his method that the scheme of the drama was based on a 
tentative theory of things which seemed to accord with 
the mind of the age ; but that whether such theory did or 
not so accord, and whether it were true or false, little 
affected his object, which was a poetical one wherein 
nothing more was necessary than that the theory should 
be plausible a polemic handling of his book would be 
avoided. Briefly, that the drama being advanced not as 
a reasoned system of philosophy, nor as a new philosophy, 
but as a poem, with the discrepancies that are to be ex- 
pected in an imaginative work, as such it would be read. 

However, the latitude claimed was allowed but in few 
instances, and an unfavourable reception was pretty gen- 
eral, the substance of which was "On what ground do you 
arrogate to yourself a right to express in poetry a phi- 
losophy which has never been expressed in poetry before ?" 

Notwithstanding his hopes, he had a suspicion that 
such might be the case, as we may gather from a note he 
had written : 


104 VERSE 1904-05 

"The old theologies may or may not have worked for 
good In their time. But they will not bear stretching 
further in epic or dramatic art. The Greeks used up 
theirs : the Jews used up theirs : the Christians have used 
up theirs. So that one must make an independent 
plunge, embodying the real, if only temporary, thought 
of the age. But I expect that I shall catch it hot and 
strong for attempting it !" 

Hardy replied to one of these criticisms written by the 
dramatic critic of The Times in the Literary Supplement 
{Times Literary Supplement^ Feb. 5 and Feb. 19, 1904), 
but did not make many private memoranda on the 
reviews. One memorandum is as follows : 

"I suppose I have handicapped myself by expressing, 
both in this drama and previous verse, philosophies and 
feelings as yet not well established or formally adopted 
into the general teaching ; and by thus over-stepping the 
standard boundary set up for the thought of the age by 
the proctors of opinion, I have thrown back my chance of 
acceptance in poetry by many years. The very fact of 
my having tried to spread over art the latest illumination 
of the time has darkened counsel in respect of me. 

"What the reviewers really assert is, not 'This is an 
untrue and inartistic view of life', but "This is not the 
view of life that we people who thrive on conventions can 
permit to be painted'. If, instead of the machinery I 
adopted, I had constructed a theory of a world directed 
by fairies, nobody would have objected, and the critics 
would probably have said, "What a charming fancy of 
Mr. Hardy's ! - But having chosen a scheme which may 
or may not be a valid one, but is presumably much 
nearer reality than the fancy of a world ordered by fairies 
would be, they straightway lift their brows." 

Writing to his friend Edward Clodd on March 22, he 

"I did not quite think that the Dynasts would suit 


your scientific mind, or shall I say the scientific side of 
your mind, so that I am much pleased to hear that you 
have got pleasure out of it. 

" As to my having said nothing or little (I think I did 
just allude to it a long while ago) about having it in hand, 
the explanation is simple enough I did not mean to pub- 
lish Part I. by itself until after a quite a few days before 
I sent it up to the publishers : and to be engaged in a de- 
sultory way on a MS. which may be finished in five years 
(the date at which I thought I might print it, complete) 
does not lead one to say much about it. On my return 
here from London I had a sudden feeling that I should 
never carry the thing any further, so off it went. But 
now I am better inclined to go on with it. Though I 
rather wish I had kept back the parts till the whole could 
be launched, as I at first intended. 

" What you say about the ' Will* is true enough, if you 
take the word in its ordinary sense. But in the lack 
of another word to express precisely what is meant, a 
secondary sense has gradually arisen, that of effort exer- 
cised in a reflex or unconscious manner. Another word 
would have been better if one could have had it, though 
/Power' would not do, as power can be suspended or with- 
held, and the forces of Nature cannot : However, there are 
inconsistences in the Phantoms, no doubt. But that was 
a point to which I was somewhat indifferent, since they 
are not supposed to be more than the best human intelli- 
gences of their time in a sort of quint-essential form. I 
speak of the c Years'. The ' Pi ties' are, of course, merely 
Humanity, with all its weaknesses. 

"You speak of Meredith. I am sorry to learn that he 
has been so seriously ill. Leslie Stephen gone too. They 
are thinning out ahead of us. I have just lost an old friend 
down here, of forty-seven years' standing. A man whose 
opinions differed almost entirely from my own on most 
subjects, and yet he was a good and sincere friend the 

106 VERSE 1905-06 

brother of the present Bishop of Durham^ and like him 
in old-fashioned views of the Evangelical school/' 

His mind was, however, drawn away from the perils 
of attempting to express his age in poetry by a noticeable 
change in his mother's state of health. She was now in her 
ninety-first year, and though she had long suffered from 
deafness was mentally as clear and alert as ever. She sank 
gradually, but it was not till two days before her death that 
she failed to comprehend his words to her. She died on 
Easter Sunday, April 3, and was buried at Stinsford in the 
grave of her husband. She had been a woman with an 
extraordinary store of local memories, reaching back to 
the days when the ancient ballads were everywhere heard 
at country feasts, in weaving shops, and at spinning- 
wheels ; and her good taste in literature was expressed by 
the books she selected for her children in circumstances 
in which opportunities for selection were not numerous. 
The portraits of her which appeared in The Sphere, The 
Gentlewoman, The Book Monthly , and other papers the 
best being from a painting by her daughter Mary show 
a face of dignity and judgement. 

A month earlier he had sent a reply to the Rev. S. 
Whittel Key, who had inquired of him concerning " sport " : 

"I am not sufficiently acquainted with the many 
varieties of sport to pronounce which is, quantitatively, 
the most cruel. I can only say generally that the prevalence 
of those sports which consist in the pleasure of watching 
a fellow-creature, weaker or less favoured than ourselves, 
in its struggles, by Nature's poor resources only, to escape 
the death-agony we mean to inflict by the treacherous 
contrivances of science, seems one of the many convincing 
proofs that we have not yet emerged from barbarism. 

"In the present state of affairs there would appear to 
be no logical reason why the smaller children, say, of 
overcrowded families, should not be used for sporting 
purposes. Darwin has revealed that there would be no 


difference in principle ; moreover, these children would 
often escape lives intrinsically less happy than those of 
wild birds and other animals." 

During May he was in London reading at the British 
Museum on various days probably historic details that 
bore upon The Dynasts and went to Sunday concerts 
at the Queen's Hall, and to afternoon services at St. 
Paul's whenever he happened to be near the Cathedral, a 
custom of his covering many years before and after. 

On June 28 The Times published the following letter : 


"I should like to be allowed space to express in the 
fewest words a view of Count Tolstoy's philosophic ser- 
mon on war, of which you print a translation in your 
impression of to-day and a comment in your leading 

"The sermon may show many of the extravagances of 
detail to which the world has grown accustomed in Count 
Tolstoy's later writings. It may exhibit, here and there, 
incoherence as a moral system. Many people may 
object to the second half of the dissertation its special 
application to Russia in the present war (on which I can 
say nothing). Others may be unable to see advantage 
in the writer's use of theological terms for describing 
and illustrating the moral evolutions of past ages. But 
surely all these objectors should be hushed by his great 
argument, and every defect in his particular reasonings 
hidden by the blaze of glory that shines from his masterly 
general indictment of war as a modern principle, with all 
its senseless and illogical crimes. 

"Your obedient servant, 


Again in the country in August, Hardy resumed his 
cycling tours, meeting by accident Mr. William Watson, 
Mr. Francis Coutts (Lord Latymer), and Mr. John Lane 

io8 VERSE 1904-05 

at Glastonbury, and spending a romantic day or two 
there among the ruins. 

In October Hardy learnt by letter from Madras of the 
death of Mrs, Malcolm Nicolson the gifted and impas- 
sioned poetess known as "Laurence Hope", whom he had 
met in London ; and he wrote a brief obituary notice of 
her in the Athenceum at the end of the month. But 
beyond this, and the aforesaid newspaper letters, he 
appears to have printed very little during this year 1904. 
A German translation of Life's Little Ironies was pub- 
lished in A us fremden Zungen, in Berlin, and a French 
translation of The Well-Beloved undertaken. 

His memoranda get more and more meagre as the 
years go on, until we are almost entirely dependent on 
letter-references, reviews, and casual remarks of his taken 
down by the present writer. It is a curious reversal of 
what is usually found in lives, where notes and diaries 
grow more elaborate with maturity of years. But it 
accords with Hardy's frequent saying that he took little 
interest in himself as a person, and his absolute refusal at 
all times to write his reminiscences. 

In January (1905) he served as Grand Juror at the 
winter Assizes, and in the latter part of the month met 
Dr. Shipley, Mr. Asquith, Lord Monteagle, Sir Edgar 
Vincent, and others at a dinner at the National Club 
given by Mr. Gosse. At this time he was much inter- 
ested in the paintings of Zurbaran, which he preferred to 
all others of the old Spanish school, venturing to think 
that they might some day be held in higher estimation 
than those of Velasquez. 

About this time the romantic poem entitled " A Noble 
Lady's Tale" was printed in the Cornhill Magazine. 

The first week in April Hardy left Dorchester for 
London en route for Aberdeen, the ancient University of 
which city had offered him the honorary degree of LL.D. 
In accepting it he remarked : 


"I am impressed by its coming from Aberdeen, for 
though a stranger to that part of Scotland to a culpable 
extent I have always observed with admiration the excep- 
tional characteristics of the northern University, which in 
its fostering encouragement of mental effort seems to cast 
an eye over these islands that is unprejudiced, unbiassed, 
and unsleeping." 

It was a distance of near 700 miles by the route he 
would have to take almost as far as to the Pyrenees 
and over the northern stage of it winter still lingered ; but 
his journey there and back was an easy one. The section 
from Euston Square to the north was performed in a 
train of sleeping-cars which crunched through the snow 
as if it were January, the occasion coinciding with the 
opening of the new sculpture gallery, a function that 
brought many visitors from London. Hardy was hospit- 
ably entertained at the Chanonry Lodge, Old Aberdeen^ 
by Principal and Mrs. Marshall Lang, which was the 
beginning of a friendship that lasted till the death of the 
Principal. Among others who received the like honour 
at the same time were Professor Bury and Lord Reay. 

In the evening there was a reception in the Mitchell 
Hall, Marischal College, made lively by Scotch reels and 
bag-pipers ; and the next day, after attending at the 
formal opening of the sculpture gallery, he was a guest at 
the Corporation Dinner at the Town Hall, where friends 
were warm, but draughts were keen to one from a 
southern county, and speeches, though good, so long that 
he and the Principal did not get back to Chanonry Lodge 
till one o'clock. 

On Sunday morning Hardy visited spots in and about 
Aberdeen associated with Byron and others, and lunched 
at the Grand Hotel by the invitation of Mr. (afterwards 
Sir) James Murray, dining at the same place with the same 
host, crossing hands in Auld Lang Syne with delightful 
people whom he had never seen before and, alas, never 

no VERSE 1904-05 

saw again. This was the "hearty way" (as it would be 
called in Wessex) in which they did things in the snowy 
north. To Hardy the whole episode of Aberdeen, he 
said, was of a most pleasant and unexpected kind, and it 
remained with him like a romantic dream. 

Passing through London on his way south he break- 
fasted at the Athenaeum, where he was shocked to learn 
of the death of his friend, Lord St. Helier (Sir Francis 
Jeune), who had been ailing more or less since the loss of 
his only son in the previous August. Hardy on his way 
down to Dorset was led to think of the humorous stories 
connected with the Divorce Court that the genial judge 
sometimes had told him when they were walking in the 
woods of Arlington Manor in the summer holidays ; among 
them the tale of that worthy couple who wished to be di- 
vorced but disliked the idea of such an unpleasant person 
as a co-respondent being concerned in it, and so hit upon 
the plan of doing without him. The husband, saying he 
was going to Liverpool for a day or two, got a private 
detective to watch his house ; but instead of leaving stayed 
in London, and at the dead of night went to his own house 
in disguise, and gave a signal. His wife came down in her 
dressing-gown and let him in softly, letting him out again 
before it was light. When the husband inquired of the 
detective he was informed that there was ample evidence ; 
and the divorce was duly obtained. 

Hardy could not remember whether it was a story of 
the same couple or of another, in which Sir Francis had 
related that being divorced they grew very fond of each 
other, the former wife becoming the husband's mistress, 
and living happily with him ever after. 

As they had taken a flat at Hyde Park Mansions for 
this spring and summer Hardy did not stay long in 
Dorset, and they entered the flat the week before Easter. 
During April he followed up Tchaikowsky at the Queen's 


Hall concerts, saying of the impetuous march-piece in the 
third movement of the Pathetic Symphony that it was 
the only music he knew that was able to make him feel 
exactly as if he were in a battle. 

"May 5, To the Lord Mayor's farewell banquet to 
Mr. Choate at the Mansion House. Thought of the con- 
tinuity of the institution, and the teeming history of the 
spot. A graceful speech by Arthur Balfour : a less graceful 
but more humorous one by Mr. Choate. Spoke to many 
whom I knew. Sat between Dr. Butler, Master of Trinity, 
and Sir J. Ramsay. Came home with Sir F. Pollock." 

This month he was seeing Ben Jonson's play, The 
Silent Woman^ and Shaw's John Bull's Other Island and 
Man and Superman, and went to the Royal Society's Con- 
versazione ; though for some days confined to the house 
by a sore throat and cough. At a lunch given by Sidney 
Lee at the Garrick Club in June he talked about Shake- 
speare with Sir Henry Irving, and was reconfirmed in his 
opinion that actors never see a play as a whole and in true 
perspective, but in a false perspective from the shifting 
point of their own part in it, Sir Henry having shied at 
Hardy's suggestion that he should take the part of Jaques. 

In this June, too, he paid a promised visit to Swin- 
burne, and had a long talk with him ; also with Mr. Watts- 
Dun ton. "Swinburne's grey eyes are extraordinarily 
bright still the brightness of stars that do not twinkle 
planets namely. In spite of the nervous twitching of 
his feet he looked remarkably boyish and well, and rather 
impish. He told me he could walk twenty miles a day, 
and was only an old man in his hearing, his sight being as 
good as ever. He spoke with amusement of a paragraph 
he had seen in a Scottish paper : "Swinburne planteth, 
Hardy watereth, and Satan giveth the increase.' He 
has had no honours offered him. Said that when he was 
nearly drowned his thought was, c My Bothwellwill never 
be finished ! l That the secret reason for Lady Byron's dis- 

ii2 VERSE 1904-05 

missal of Lord Byron was undoubtedly his liaison with 
Augusta. His (Swinburne's) mother [Lady Jane, nee 
Ashburnham] used to say that it was the talk of London 
at the time. That the last time he visited his friend Landor 
the latter said plaintively that as he wrote only in a dead 
language (Latin), and a dying language (English), he 
would soon be forgotten. Talking of poets, he said that 
once Mrs. Procter told him that Leigh Hunt on a visit to 
her father one day brought an unknown youth in his train 
and introduced him casually as Mr. John Keats. (I 
think, by the way, that she also told me of the incident. 1 ) 
We laughed and condoled with each other on having been 
the two most abused of living writers ; he for Poems and 
Ballad s y I for Jude the Obscure" 

Later on in June he went to Mr. Walter Tyndale's 
exhibition of Wessex pictures, some of which Hardy had 
suggested, and during the remainder of their stay in 
London they did little more than entertain a few friends 
at Hyde Park Mansions, and dine and lunch with others. 

'''June 26, 1905. To the Hon. Sec. of the Shakespeare 
Memorial Committee: 

"I fear that I shall have to leave town before the 
meeting of the Committee takes place. 

"All I would say on the form of the Memorial is that 
one which embodies the calling of an important street or 
square after Shakespeare would seem to be as effectual a 
means as any of keeping his name on the tongues of 
citizens, and his personality in their minds." 

In July they went back to Dorset. Here, in the same 
month, a Nelson-and-Hardy exhibition was opened in 
Dorchester, the relics shown being mainly those of the 
Captain of the Victory ', who had been born and lived near, 
and belonged to a branch of the Dorset Hardys, of whom 
the subject of this memoir belonged to another. 

On September i Hardy received a visit from 200 
i See The Early Life of Thomas Hardy, p. 177- 


members of the Institute of Journalists at their own sug- 
gestion, as they had arranged a driving tour through his 
part of the country. There was an understanding that no 
interviews should be printed, and to this they honourably 
adhered. Their idea had been a call on him only, but they 
were entertained at tea, for which purpose a tent 150 feet 
long had to be erected on Max Gate lawn. "The interior 
with the sun shining through formed a pretty scene when 
they were sitting down at the little tables ", Mrs. Hardy 
remarks in a diary. "They all drove off in four-in-hand 
brakes and other vehicles to Bockhampton, Puddletown, 
Bere Regis, and Wool/' After they had gone it came on 
to rain, and Hardy, returning from Dorchester at ten 
o'clock, met the vehicles coming back in a procession, 
empty; "the horses tired and steaming after their jour- 
ney of thirty miles, and their coats and harness shining 
with rain and perspiration in the light of the lamps ". 

In pursuance of the above allusion to interviewing, it 
may be stated that there are interviewers and interviewers* 
It once happened that an interviewer came specially from 
London to Hardy to get his opinions for a popular morning 
paper. Hardy said positively that he would not be inter- 
viewed on any subject. " Very well ", said the interviewer, 
"then back I go, my day and my expenses all wasted." 
Hardy felt sorry, his visitor seeming to be a gentlemanly 
and educated man, and said he did not see why he should 
hurry off, if he would give his word not to write anything. 
This was promised, and the interviewer stayed, and had 
lunch, and a pleasant couple of hours' conversation on all 
sorts of subjects that would have suited him admirably. 
Yet he honourably kept his promise, and not a word of 
his visit appeared anywhere in the pages of the paper. 

In the middle of this month the I5oth anniversary of 
the birth of the poet Crabbe at Aldeburgh in Suffolk was 
celebrated in that town, and Hardy accepted the invitation 
of Mr. Edward Clodd to be present. There were some 

H4 VERSE 1904-05 

very good tableaux vivants of scenes from the poems ex- 
hibited in the Jubilee Hall, some good lectures on the poet, 
and a sermon also in the parish church on his life and 
work, all of which Hardy attended, honouring Crabbe as 
an apostle of realism who practised it in English liter- 
ature three-quarters of a century before the French 
realistic school had been heard of. 

Returning to Max Gate he finished the second part of 
The Dynasts that second part which the New York 
Tribune and other papers had been positive would never 
be heard of, so ridiculous was the first and sent off the 
MS. to the Messrs. Macmillan in the middle of October. 

"First week in November. The order in which the 
leaves fall this year is: Chestnuts; Sycamores; Limes; 
Hornbeams ; Elm ; Birch ; Beech." 

A letter written November 5 of this year : 

"All I know about my family history is that it is in- 
dubitably one of the several branches of the Dorset 
Hardys having been hereabouts for centuries. But 
when or how it was connected with the branch to which 
Nelson's Hardy's people belonged who have also been 
hereabouts for centuries I cannot positively say. 1 The 
branches are always asserted locally to be connected, and 
no doubt are, and there is a strong family likeness. I have 
never investigated the matter, though my great-uncle 
knew the ramifications. The Admiral left no descendant 
in the male line, as you may know. 

"As to your interesting remarks on honours for men 
of letters, I have always thought that any writer who has 
expressed unpalatable or possibly subversive views on 
society, religious dogma, current morals, and any other 
features of the existing order of things, and who wishes to 
be free and to express more if they occur to him, must feel 

1 Since writing the above I have received from a correspondent what 
seems to me indubitable proof of the connection of these two branches 
of the Hardy family. F. E. H. 


hampered by accepting honours from any government 
which are different from academic honours offered for 
past attainments merely. " 

To Mr. Israel Zangwill on November 10 : 

"It would be altogether presumptuous in me so en- 
tirely outside Jewish life to express any positive opinion 
on the scheme embodied in the pamphlet you send to me. 
I can only say a word or two of the nature of a fancy. To 
found an autonomous Jewish state or colony, under 
British suzerainty or not, wears the look of a good prac- 
tical idea, and it is possibly all the better for having no 
retrospective sentiment about it. But I cannot help 
saying that this retrospective sentiment among Jews is 
precisely the one I can best enter into. 

" So that if I were a Jew I should be a rabid Zionist no 
doubt. I feel that the idea of ultimately getting to 
Palestine is the particular idea to make the imaginative 
among your people enthusiastic 'like unto them that 
dream* as one of you said in a lyric which is among the 
finest in any tongue, to judge from its power in a trans- 
lation. You, I suppose, read it in the original ; I wish I 
could. (This is a digression.) 

"The only plan that seems to me to reconcile the tradi- 
tional feeling with the practical is that of regarding the 
proposed Jewish state on virgin soil as a stepping-stone to 
Palestine. A Jewish colony united and strong and grown 
wealthy in, say, East Africa, could make a bid for Palestine 
(as a sort of annexe) say 100 years hence with far 
greater effect than the race as scattered all over the globe 
can ever do ; and who knows if by that time altruism may 
not have made such progress that the then ruler or rulers 
of Palestine, whoever they may be, may even hand it over 
to the expectant race, and gladly assist them, or part of 
them, to establish themselves there. 

"This expectation, nursed throughout the formation 

n6 VERSE 1904-05 

and development of the new territory, would at any rate 
be serviceable as an ultimate ideal to stimulate action. 
With such an idea lying behind the immediate one, per- 
haps the Zionists would reunite and co-operate with the 
New Territorialists. 

"I have written, as I said, only a fancy. But, as I think 
you know, nobody outside Jewry can take a deeper interest 
than I do in a people of such extraordinary character and 
history ; who brought forth, moreover, a young reformer 
who, though only in the humblest walk of life, became 
the most famous personage the world has ever known/' 

At the end of 1905 a letter reached him from a corre- 
spondent in the Philippine Islands telling him that to its 
writer he was "like some terrible old prophet crying in 
the wilderness . 



1906-1908 : Aet. 65-67 

THE Dynasts y Part II., was not published till the first 
week in February 1906, and its reception by the reviews 
was much more congratulatory than their reception of 
the first part, an American critical paper going so far as 
to say, "Who knows that this work may not turn out to 
be a masterpiece ?" 

This year they re-occupied the flat in Hyde Park 
Mansions that had been let to them by Lady Thomp- 
son the year before, and paid the customary visits to 
private views, concerts, and plays that are usually paid 
to such by people full of vigour from the country. Of the 
Wagner concerts he says : 

" I prefer late Wagner, as I prefer late Turner, to early 
(which I suppose is all wrong in taste), the idiosyncrasies 
of each master being more strongly shown in these strains. 
When a man not contented with the grounds of his suc- 
cess goes on and on, and tries to achieve the impossible, 
then he gets profoundly interesting to me. To-day it was 
early Wagner for the most part : fine music, but not so 
particularly his no spectacle of the inside of a brain at 
work like the inside of a hive/' 

An attack of influenza, which he usually got while 
sojourning in London, passed off, and they entertained 
many friends at the flat as usual, and went out to various 


ii8 VERSE 1906-08 

meetings and dinners, though he does not write them 
down in detail as when he thought he must. They 
included one at Vernon Lushington's, where Hardy was 
interested in the portrait of his host's father, the Lush- 
ington of the Lady Byron mystery, who kept his secret 
honourably ; also a luncheon in a historic room weighted 
with its antiquity, the vaulted dining-room of the house 
in Dean's Yard then occupied by Dr. Wilberforce as 
Archdeacon of Westminster. It was this year that Hardy 
met Dr. Grieg, the composer, and his wife, and when, 
discussing Wagner music, he said to Grieg that the wind 
and rain through trees, iron railings, and keyholes, fairly 
suggested Wagner music; to which the rival composer 
responded severely that he himself would sooner have 
the wind and rain. 

' On the 2 1st May the following letter, in which Hardy 
gives a glimpse of himself as a young man in London, 
appeared in The Times; 


"This being the looth anniversary of J. Stuart Mill's 
birth, and as writers like Carlyle, Leslie Stephen, and 
others have held that anything, however imperfect, 
which affords an idea of a human personage in his actual 
form and flesh, is of value in respect of him, the few 
following words on how one of the profoundest thinkers 
of the last century appeared forty years ago to the man 
in the street may be worth recording as a footnote to 
Mr. Morley's admirable estimate of Mill's life and philos- 
ophy in your impression of Friday. 

"Itwasaday in 1865, about three in the afternoon, dur- 
ing Mill's candidature for Westminster. The hustings had 
been erected in Covent Garden, near the front of St. Paul's 
Church ; and when I a young man living in London 
drew near to the spot, Mill was speaking. The appear- 
ance of the author of the treatise, On Liberty (which we 


students of that date knew almost by heart) was so differen t 
from the look of persons who usually address crowds in 
the open air that it held the attention of people for whom 
such a gathering in itself had little interest. Yet it was, 
primarily, that of a man out of place. The religious sin- 
cerity of his speech was jarred on by his environment a 
group on the hustings who, with few exceptions, did not 
care to understand him fully, and a crowd below who 
could not. He stood bareheaded, and his vast pale brow, 
so thin-skinned as to show the blue veins, sloped back like 
a stretching upland, and conveyed to the observer a 
curious sense of perilous exposure. The picture of him as 
personified earnestness surrounded for the most part by 
careless curiosity derived an added piquancy if it can be 
called such from the fact that the cameo clearness of 
his face chanced to be in relief against the blue shadow of 
a church which, on its transcendental side, his doctrines 
antagonized. But it would not be right to say that the 
throng was absolutely unimpressed by his words ; it felt 
that they were weighty, though it did not quite know why. 
"Your obedient servant, 

"May 20." 

The same month Mrs. Hardy makes the following 
note : " May 30. Returned to Max Gate for a day or two. 
I gardened a little, and had the first strange fainting-fit 
[I had known]. My heart seemed to stop ; I fell, and after 
a while a servant came to me." (Mrs. Hardy died of 
heart-failure six years after.) 

During this summer in London M. Jacques Blanche, 
the well-known French painter, who had a studio in 
Knightsbridge, painted Hardy's portrait in oils. And a 
paper called "Memories of Church Restoration", which 
he had written, was read in his enforced absence by 

120 VERSE 1906-08 

Colonel Eustace Balfour at the annual meeting of the 
Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings. 

At the end of the lecture great satisfaction was ex- 
pressed by speakers that Hardy had laid special em- 
phasis on the value of the human associations of ancient 
buildings, for instance, the pews of churches, since they 
were generally slighted in paying regard to artistic and 
architectural points only. 

As the June month drew on Hardy seems to have been 
at the British Museum Library verifying some remaining 
details for The Dynast s y Part Third; also incidentally 
going to see the Daily Telegraph printed, and to meet a 
group of German editors on a visit to England. He 
returned with his wife to Dorset towards the latter part 
of July. 

At the end of July he wrote to Pittsburgh, U.S.A. : 
" The handsome invitation of the Trustees of the Pitts- 
burgh Institute that I should attend the dedication with 
wife or daughter, free of expense to us from the time we 
leave home till we return again, is a highly honouring and 
tempting one. But I am compelled to think of many con- 
tingent matters that would stand in the way of my paying 
such a visit, and have concluded that I cannot undertake it. 
"Please convey my thanks to Mr. Carnegie and the 


"August 15. Have just read of the death of Mrs. 
Craigie in the papers. . . . Her description of the artistic 
temperament is clever ; as being that which ' thinks more 
than there is to think, feels more than there is to feel, sees 
more than there is to see'. ... It reveals a bitterness of 
heart that was not shown on the surface by that brilliant 


On August 17 he started with his brother on a tour 
to some English cathedrals, which included Lincoln, Ely, 


the Cambridge Colleges, and Canterbury; and finished 
out the summer with bicycling in Dorset and Somerset. 
He must have been working at the third part of The 
'Dynasts at intervals this year, though there is appar- 
ently no record of his doing so. 


The poem entitled " New Year's Eve ", written in 1906, 
was issued in the January number of the Fortnightly Re- 
view y 1907 (afterwards reprinted in the volume called 
Time's Laughingstocks). Some time in the same month 
he made the following notes on kindred subjects : 

cc An ephemeral article which might be written : c The 
Hard Case of the Would-be-Religious. By Sinceritas/ 

"Synopsis. Many millions of the most thoughtful 
people in England are prevented entering any church or 
chapel from year's end to year's end. 

"The days of creeds are as dead and done with as the 
days of Pterodactyls. 

"Required: services at which there are no affirma- 
tions and no supplications. 

"Rationalists err as far in one direction as Revela- 
tionists or Mystics in the other ; as far as in the direction 
of logicality as their opponents away from it, 

" Religious , religion^ is to be used in the article in its 
modern sense entirely, as being expressive of nobler feel- 
ings towards humanity and emotional goodness and 
greatness, the old meaning of the word ceremony, or 
ritual having perished, or nearly. 

"We enter church, and we have to say, c We have 
erred and strayed from Thy ways like lost sheep', when 
what we want to say is, 'Why are we made to err and 
stray like lost sheep ?' Then we have to sing, 'My soul 
doth magnify the Lord', when what we want to sing is, 
*O that my soul could find some Lord that it could 
magnify ! Till it can, let us magnify good works, and 

122 VERSE 1906-08 

develop all means of easing mortals 5 * progress through a 
world not worthy of them/- 

" Still, being present, we say the established words 
full of the historic sentiment only, mentally adding, 'How 
happy our ancestors were in repeating in all sincerity these 
articles of faith F But we perceive that none of the con- 
gregation recognizes that we repeat the words from an 
antiquarian interest in them, and in a historic sense, and 
solely in order to keep a church of some sort afoot a 
thing indispensable; so that we are pretending what is 
not true: that we are believers. This must not be; we 
must leave. And if we do, we reluctantly go to the door, 
and creep out as it creaks complainingly behind us.* 2 
Hardy, however, was not a controversialist in religion 
or anything else, and it should be added here that he 
sometimes took a more nebulous view, that may be called 
transmutative, as in a passage that he wrote some time 
later : 

"Christianity nowadays as expounded by Christian 
apologists has an entirely different meaning from that 
which it bore when I was a boy. If I understand, it now 
limits itself to the religion of emotional morality and altru- 
ism that was taught by Jesus Christ, or nearly so limits 
itself. But this teaching does not appertain especially 
to Christianity : other moral religions within whose sphere 
the name of Christ has never been heard, teach the same 
thing ! Perhaps this is a mere question of terminology, and 
does not much matter. That the dogmatic superstitions 
read every Sunday are merely a commemorative recitation 
of old articles of faith held by our grandfathers, may not 
much matter either, as long as this is well understood. 
Still, it would be more honest to make these points clearer, 
by recasting the liturgy, for their real meaning is often 
misapprehended. But there seems to be no sign of such a 
clearing up, and I fear that, since the * Apology* [in Late 
Lyric3\ in which I expressed as much some years ago, no 


advance whatever has been shown; rather,, indeed, a 
childish back-current towards a belief in magic rites." 

"February 8. E. goes to London to walk in the suffra- 
gist procession to-morrow." 

In March occurred the death of a friend the Rev. T. 
Perkins, rector of Turn worth, Dorset with whom Hardy 
was in sympathy for his humane and disinterested views, 
and staunch support of the principle of justice for animals, 
in whose cause he made noble sacrifices, and spent time 
and money that he could ill afford. On the agth of the 
month Hardy enters a memorandum : 

"Eve of Good Friday. 11.30 P.M. Finished draft of 
Part III. of The Dynasts" He had probably been so far 
influenced by the reception of the first two parts, as not to 
expect the change of view which was about to give to the 
third part, and the whole production, a warm verdict of 
success, or he would not have followed the entry by the 
addendum : 

"Critics can never be made to understand that the 
failure may be greater than the success. It is their partic- 
ular duty to point this out ; but the public points it out 
to them. To have strength to roll a stone weighing a 
hundredweight to the top of the mount is a success, and 
to have the strength to roll a stone of ten hundredweight 
only half-way up that mount is a failure. But the latter is 
two or three times as strong a deed." 

They again took the flat in Hyde Park Mansions for 
the spring and summer, and moved thither the third week 
in April, whence they made their usual descent on friends 
andacquaintances,picture-galleries,and concert-rooms. It 
was this year that they met Mr. andMrs. Bernard Shaw 
it is believed for the first time. They also received at the flat 
their customary old friends, including Mr. and Mrs. J. M. 
Barrie^M, and Madame Jacques Blanche, andmany others. 

124 VERSE 1906-08 

In May he was present at an informal but most inter- 
esting dinner at the house of his friend. Dr. Hagberg 
Wright, where he met ML and Mme. Maxim Gorky, 
Mr. H, G. Wells, Mr. Bernard Shaw, Mr. Conrad, Mr. 
Richard Whiteing, and others. A disconcerting but amus- 
ing accident was the difficulty of finding Mr. Wright's flat, 
on account of which the guests arrived at intervals and 
had their dinners in succession, the Gorkys coming last 
after driving two hours about London, including the 
purlieus of Whitechapel, which he had mistaken for 
"Westminster". Naturally it was a late hour when the 
party broke up. 

June 2. Hardy's birthday, which he kept by dining at 
Lady St. Helier's. 

On the same day he wrote to Mr. Edward Wright : 

"Your interesting letter on the philosophy of The 
Dynasts has reached me here. I will try to answer some of 
your inquiries. 

"I quite agree with you in holding that the word 
'Will* does not perfectly fit the idea to be conveyed a 
vague thrusting or urging internal force in no predeter- 
mined direction. But it has become accepted in phi- 
losophy for want of a better, and is hardly likely to be 
supplanted by another, unless a highly appropriate one 
could be found, which I doubt. The word that you sug- 
gest Impulse seems to me to imply a driving power 
behind it ; also a spasmodic movement unlike that of, say, 
the tendency of an ape to become a man and other such 

"In a dramatic epic which I may perhaps assume 
The Dynasts to be some philosophy of life was neces- 
sary, and I went on using that which I had denoted in my 
previous volumes of verse (and to some extent prose) as 
being a generalized form of what the thinking world had 
gradually come to adopt, myself included. That the Un- 


conscious Will of the Universe is growing aware of Itself 
I believe I may claim as my own idea solely at which I 
arrived by reflecting that what has already taken place in 
a fraction of the whole (i.e. so much of the world as has 
become conscious) is likely to take place in the mass ; and 
there being no Will outside the mass that is, the Uni- 
verse the whole Will becomes conscious thereby: and 
ultimately, it is to be hoped, sympathetic. 

"I believe, too, that the Prime Cause, this Will, has 
never before been called 'It' in any poetical literature, 
English or foreign. 

"This theory, too, seems to me to settle the question of 
Free-will v. Necessity. The will of a man is, according to 
it, neither wholly free nor wholly unfree. When swayed 
by the Universal Will (which he mostly must be as a sub- 
servient part of it) he is not individually free ; but when- 
ever it happens that all the rest of the Great Will is in 
equilibrium the minute portion called one person's will is 
free, just as a performer's fingers are free to go on playing 
the pianoforte of themselves when he talks or thinks of 
something else and the head does not rule them. 

"In the first edition of a drama of the extent of The 
Dynasts there may be, of course, accidental discrepancies 
and oversights which seem not quite to harmonize with 
these principles ; but I hope they are not many. 

"The third part will probably not be ready till the end 
of this or the beginning of next year ; so that I have no 
proofs as yet. I do not think, however, that they would 
help you much in your proposed article. The first and 
second parts already published, and some of the poems in 
Poems of the Past and the Present^ exhibit fairly enough 
the whole philosophy." 

Concerning Hardy's remark in this letter on the Un- 
conscious Will being an idea already current, though that 
its growing aware of Itself might be newer, and that there 
might be discrepancies in the Spirits' philosophy, it may 

126 VERSE 1906-08 

be stated that he had felt such questions of priority and 
discrepancy to be immaterial where the work was offered 
as a poem and not as a system of thought. 

On the 22nd of June they were guests at King Edward's 
Garden Party at Windsor Castle, and a few days later at 
Mr. Reginald Smith's met Sir Theodore Martin, then 
nearly ninety-one, Hardy remembering when as a young 
man he had frequented the pit of Drury Lane to see Lady 
Martin then Miss Helen Fauci t in Shakespeare char- 
acters. His term at Hyde Park Mansions came to an end 
in the latter part of July, and they returned to Max Gate, 
though Hardy attended a dinner a week later given by 
the Medico-Psychological Society, where he had scientific 
discussions with Sir James Crichton-Browne and Sir 
Clifford Allbutt, and where one of the speakers interested 
Hardy by saying that all great things were done by men 
"who were not at ease". 

That autumn Sir Frederick and Lady Treves took a 
house near Max Gate, and Hardy frequently discussed 
with the Serjeant-surgeon a question which had drawn 
their attention for a long time, both being Dorset men ; 
that of the "poor whites" in Barbados, a degenerate, 
decadent race, descendants of the Dorset and Somerset 
"rebels" who were banished there by Judge Jeffreys, and 
one of whom had been a collateral ancestor of Hardy's on 
the maternal side. 

He was now reaching a time of life when shadows were 
continually falling. His friend Pretor, Fellow of St* 
Catherine's College, Cambridge, wrote to tell him he was 
dying, and asked him for an epitaph. Hardy thought of 
an old one : 

If a madness 'tis to weepe 

For a man that's falFn asleepe, 

How much more for that we call 

Death the sweetest sleepe of all ! 


They still kept up a little bicycling this autumn, but 
he did some writing, finishing the third part of The 
"Dynasts in September, and posting the MS. to the pub- 
lishers shortly after. 

In November he complied with a request from the 
Dorsetshire Regiment in India, which had asked him for 
a marching tune with the required local affinity for the 
use of the fifes-and-drums, and sent out an old tune of 
his grandfather's called "The Dorchester Hornpipe", 
which he himself had fiddled at dances as a boy. He 
wound up the year by sending to the Wessex Society of 
Manchester, also at their request, a motto for the Society : 

While new tongues call, and novel scenes unfold, 
Meet may it be to bear in mind the old. . . . 
Vain dreams, indeed, are thoughts of heretofore ; 
What then ? Your instant lives are nothing more. 

About the same time he forwarded "A Sunday Morn- 
ing Tragedy'- to the English Review as wished, where it 
appeared shortly after ; and also in fulfilment of a promise, 
sent the following old-fashioned psalm-tunes associated 
with Dorsetshire to the Society of Dorset Men in London, 
of which he was President-elect for the ensuing year : 

Frome ; Wareham ; Blandford ; New Poole ; Bridport ; 
Lulworth ; Rockborne ; Mercy ; Bridehead ; Charmouth. 

The concluding part of The Dynasts was published 
about six weeks later and was the cause of his receiving 
many enthusiastic letters from friends and strangers, 
among which the following from the far West of Australia 
may be given as a specimen : 

" My thanks for your tremendous new statement in 
The Dynasts of the world-old problem of Freewill versus 
Necessity, You have carried me on to the mountain with 
Jesus of Nazareth, and, viewing with Him the great con- 
flict below, one chooses with Him to side with the Spirit 
of the Pities, in the belief that they will ultimately 

128 VERSE 1906-08 

triumph ; and even if they do not we at least will do our 
little to add to the joy rather than to the woe of the world. 
. , . The Spirit of the Pi ties is indeed young in comparison 
with The Years, and so we must be patient. . . . Your 
conception of the Immanent Will irresponsible, blind, 
but possibly growing into self-consciousness, was of great 
significance to me, from my knowledge of Dr. Bucke's 
theory of the Cosmic Consciousness." 

In connection with this subject it may be here recalled, 
In answer to writers who now and later were fond of charg- 
ing Hardy with postulating a malignant and fiendish God, 
that he never held any views of the sort, merely surmising 
an indifferent and unconscious force at the back of things 
"that neither good nor evil knows". His view is shown, 
in fact, to approximate to Spinoza's and later Ein- 
stein's that neither Chance nor Purpose governs the uni- 
verse, but Necessity. 







19081909 : Aet. 6769 

IN March he finished preparing a book of selections from 
the poems of William Barnes, for the Clarendon Press> 
Oxford, with a critical preface and glossary. 

In April Lady St. Helier and a party motored from 
beyond Newbury to Max Gate and back, arriving within 
five minutes of the time specified, although the distance 
each way was seventy-five miles. It was considered a good 
performance in those days. At the end of the month he 
dined at the Royal Academy, but was in Dorchester at a 
performance by the local Dramatic Society of some scenes 
from The Dynasts the first attempt to put on the stage a 
dramatic epic that was not intended for staging at all. In 
May he sent his Presidential Address to the Society of 
Dorset Men in London, to be read by the Secretary, as he 
was always a victim to influenza and throat-trouble if he 
read or spoke in London himself; afterwards on request 
he sent the original manuscript. (By the way, the address 
never was read, so he might have saved himself the trouble 
of writing it. What became of the manuscript is unknown.) 

The following letter to Mr. Robert Donald in May 
explains itself: 

" If I felt at all strongly, or indeed weakly, on the desir- 
ability of a memorial to Shakespeare in the shape of a 
theatre, I would join the Committee. But I do not think 
that Shakespeare appertains particularly to the theatrical 


132 "TIME'S LAUGHINGSTOCKS" i 90 8-o 9 

world nowadays, if ever he did. His distinction as a 
minister to the theatre is infinitesimal beside his distinc- 
tion as a poet, man of letters, and seer of life, and that his 
expression of himself was cast in the form of words for 
actors and not in the form of books to be read was an 
accident of his social circumstances that he himself 
despised. I would, besides, hazard the guess that he, of 
all poets of high rank whose works have taken a stage 
direction, will some day cease altogether to be acted, 
and be simply studied. 

"I therefore do not see the good of a memorial 
theatre, or for that matter any other material monument 
to him, and prefer not to join the Committee. 

"Nevertheless I sincerely thank you for letting me 
know how the movement is progressing, and for your 
appreciative thought that my joining the promoters 
would be an advantage." 

Hardy afterwards modified the latter part of the above 
opinion in favour of a colossal statue in some public place. 

It appears that the Hardys did not take any house or 
flat in London this year, contenting themselves with short 
visits and hotel quarters, so that there is not much to men- 
tion. From letters it can be gathered that at a dinner his 
historic sense was appealed to by the Duchess of St. Albans 
taking a diamond pin from her neck and telling him it had 
been worn by Nell Gwynne ; and in May or June he paid 
aTew days' visit to Lord Curzon at Hackwood Park, where 
many of the house-party went into the wood by moon- 
light to listen to the nightingale, but made such a babble of 
conversation that no nightingale ventured to open his bill. 

In July Hardy was again in London with Mrs. Hardy, 
and was present at the unveiling by Lord Curzon of the 
memorial to "John Oliver Hobbes" (Mrs. Craigie), at 
University College, where he had the pleasure of hearing 
his writings cried down by a speaker, nobody knowing 

c, 1908 


him to be present. During some of these days he sat to Sir 
Hubert Herkomer for his portrait, kindly presented to him 
by the painter. He went on to Cambridge to the Milton 
Celebration, where at the house of his friend, Sir Clifford 
Allbutt, he met Mr. Robert Bridges, the Poet-Laureate, 
for the first time, and made the acquaintance of Dr. Peile, 
the Master of Christ's College, Sir James ("Dictionary") 
Murray, and others. Comus was played at the theatre, 
in which performance young Rupert Brooke appeared as 
the attendant Spirit, but Hardy did not speak to him, to 
his after regret. 

The remainder of the month was spent in Dorset, 
where he met for the last time his friend Bosworth Smith, 
long a House-master at Harrow, who told him he was 
soon to undergo a severe surgical operation under which 
indeed he sank and died three months after. This was the 
fourth of his friends and relations that had sunk under the 
surgeon's knife in four years leaving a blank that noth- 
ing could fill. 

''August 1 8. The Poet takes note of nothing that he 
cannot feel emotively. 

"If all hearts were open and all desires known as 
they would be if people showed their souls how many 
gapings, sighings, clenched fists, knotted brows, broad 
grins, and red eyes should we see in the market-place !" 

The autumn was filled by little journeys to cathedrals 
and a visit to his sister at Swanage, whither she had gone 
for change of air ; and in December he attended a dinner 
at the Mansion House to commemorate Milton, from 
which he returned in company with his friend Mr. S. H. 
Butcher, walking up and down with him late that night 
in Russell Square, conversing on many matters as if they 
knew they would never meet again. Hardy had a great 
liking for him, and was drawn to him for the added reason 
that he and his family had been warm friends of Hardy's 
dead friend, Horace Moule. 


In the following January (1909) the University of 
Virginia invited him to attend the celebration of the 
looth anniversary of the birth of Edgar Allan Poe, and in 
writing his thanks for the invitation Hardy adds : 

"The University of Virginia does well to commem- 
orate the birthday of this poet. Now that lapse of time 
has reduced the insignificant and petty details of his life 
to their true proportion beside the measure of his poetry, 
and softened the horror of the correct classes at his lack of 
respectability, that fantastic and romantic genius shows 
himself in all his rarity. His qualities, which would have 
been extraordinary anywhere, are much more extraor- 
dinary for the America of his date. 

"Why one who was in many ways disadvantageously 
circumstanced for the development of the art of poetry 
should have been the first to realize to the full the pos- 
sibilities of the English language in rhyme and alliteration 
is not easily explicable. 

"It is a matter for curious conjecture whether his 
achievements in verse would have been the same if 
the five years of childhood spent in England had been 
extended to adult life. That "unmerciful disaster' hin- 
dered those achievements from being carried further 
must be an endless regret to lovers of poetry." 

At the beginning of this year Hardy was appointed by 
the Dorset Court of Quarter Sessions a Representative 
Governor of the Dorchester Grammar School, a position 
he filled till the end of 1925. He said he was not practical 
enough to make a good governor, but was influenced to 
accept the office by the fact that his namesake, Thomas 
Hardy of Melcombe Regis, who died in 1599, was the 
founder of the school. The latter has a monument in St. 
Peter's Church, Dorchester, 1 and is believed to have been 
of the same stock as the Thomas Hardy of this memoir. 

l See The Early Life of Thomas Hardy, p. 6, 


In March came the last letter he was ever to receive 
from George Meredith, in which the elder writes : 

"The French review herewith comes to my address 
and is, as you see by the superscription, intended for you- 

"I am reminded that you are among the kind souls who 
thought of me on my Both [birthday] and have not been 
thanked for their testimony of it. . . . The book [The Dy- 
nasts] was welcome all the more as being a sign that this 
big work was off your mind* How it may have been re- 
ceived I cannot say, but any book on so large a scale has 
to suffer the fate of a Panorama, and must be visited 
again and again for a just impression of it to be taken. I 
saw that somewhere in your neighbourhood it was repre- 
sented in action. That is the way to bring it more 
rapidly home to the mind. But the speaker of Josephine's 
last words would have to be a choice one." 

The representation had been in Dorchester, and was 
limited to a few of the country scenes. 

On the loth April he heard of the death of Swinburne, 
which was the occasion of his writing the following letter : 

"MAX GATE, April 12, 1909. 

" For several reasons I could not bring myself to write 
on Swinburne immediately I heard that, to use his own 
words, 'Fate had undone the bondage of the gods' for 
him. . . . 

"No doubt the press will say some good words about 
him now he is dead and does not care whether it says 
them or no. Well, I remember what it said in 1866, when 
he did care, though you do not remember it, and how it 
made the blood of some of us young men boil. 

"Was there ever such a country looking back at the 
life, work, and death of Swinburne is there any other 
country in Europe whose attitude towards a deceased 
poet of his rank would have been so ignoring and almost 
contemptuous ? I except The Times, which has the fairest 


estimate I have yet seen. But read The Academy and The 

"The kindly cowardice of many papers is overwhelm- 
ing him with such toleration, such theological judge- 
ments, hypocritical sympathy, and misdirected eulogy 
that, to use his own words again, "it makes one sick in a 
corner' or as we say down here in Wessex, 'it is enough 
to make every little dog run to mixen.' 

"However, we are getting on in our appreciativeness 
of poets. One thinks of those other two lyricists, Burns 
and Shelley, at this time, for obvious reasons, and of how 
much harder it was with them. We know how Burns was 
treated at Dumfries, but by the time that Swinburne was 
a young man Burns had advanced so far as to be regarded 
as no worse than * the glory and the shame of literature' 
(in the words of a critic of that date)* As for Shelley, he 
was not tolerated at all in his lifetime. But Swinburne 
has been tolerated at any rate since he has not written 
anything to speak of. And a few months ago, when old 
and enfeebled, he was honoured by a rumour that he had 
been offered a complimentary degree at Oxford. And 
Shelley too, in these latter days of our memory, has been 
favoured so far as to be considered no lower than an 
ineffectual angel beating his luminous wings in vain. . . , 

"I was so late in getting my poetical barge under way, 
and he was so early with his flotilla besides my being be- 
tween three and four years younger, and being nominally 
an architect (an awful imposter at that, really) that 
though I read him as he came out I did not personally know 
him till many years after the Poems and Ballads year. . . . 

"T. H." 

"April 13. A genius for repartee is a gift for saying 
what a wise man thinks only/' 

"April 15. Day of Swinburne's funeral. Find I can- 


not go with this rheumatism, though it is but slight, the 

journey being so roundabout. 

"Thought of some of Swinburne's lines : e.g., 

"On Shelley: 'Q sole thing sweeter than thine own 

songs were/ 

"On Newman and Carlyle: 'With all our hearts we 

praise you whom ye hate/ 

"On Time : 'For time is as wind and as waves are we/ 
"On Man : 'Save his own soul he hath no star/" 1 

In May Hardy was in London, and walking along 
Dover Street on his way to the Academy saw on a poster 
the announcement of the death of Meredith. He went on 
to the Athenaeum and wrote some memorial lines on his 
friend, which were published a day or two later in The 
Times > and reprinted in Time's Laughingstocks. 

On the 22nd he attended a memorial service to Mere- 
dith in Westminster Abbey meeting there Maurice 
Hewlett, Henry James, Max Beerbohm, Alfred Austin, 
and other acquaintance ; and returned to Dorchester the 
same afternoon. 

In June he was asked to succeed Meredith as President 
of the Society of Authors ; and wrote to Mr. Maurice 
Hewlett, who had brought the proposal before him : 

"I am moved more than I can say by learning that in 
the view of the Council I should be offered the succession 
to the Presidentship. But I must nevertheless perform 
the disagreeable duty of acting upon my own conviction 
of what is for the Society's good, and tell you that I feel 
compelled to decline the honour. I have long had an 
opinion that although in the early years of the Society it 
may perhaps have been not unwise to have at its head men 
who took no part in its management indeed the mere 
names of Tennyson and Meredith were in themselves of 

*But Isaiah had said before him: "Mine own arm brought salvation 
unto me.** 


use to the institution the time has now come when the 
President should be one who takes an active part in the 
Council's deliberations, and if possible one who lives in or 
near London briefly, that he should preside over its 
affairs. Now this I could never do. I will not go into the 
reasons why, as they are personal and unavoidable. . - . 

"I may perhaps add that if there should still be a pre- 
ponderating opinion in the Council that an inactive Presi- 
dent of the old kind is still desirable, the eminent name of 
Lord Morley suggests itself/' 

However, the matter ended by the acceptance of the 
Presidency by Hardy on further representations by the 
Council. His first diffidence had, in fact, arisen, as he 
stated, out of consideration for the Society's interests, for 
he remembered that the Society included people of all 
sorts of views, and that since Swinburne's death there 
was no living English writer who had been so abused by 
sections of the press as he himself had been in previous 
years; "and who knows ", he would drily add, "that I 
may not be again ?" 

But, as said above, his objections were overruled. 

As usual his stay in London had given him influenza, 
and he could not go to Aldeburgh as he had intended. 
About this time he wrote to a lady of New York in answer 
to an inquiry she made : 

" The discovery of the law of evolution, which revealed 
that all organic creatures are of one family, shifted the 
centre of altruism from humanity to the whole conscious 
world collectively. Therefore the practice of vivisection, 
which might have been defended while the belief ruled that 
men and animals are essentially different, has been left by 
that discovery without any logical argument in its favour. 
And if the practice, to the extent merely of inflicting slight 
discomfort now and then, be defended [as I sometimes 
hold it may] on grounds of it being good policy for animals 
as well as men, it is nevertheless in strictness a wrong, and 


stands precisely in the same category as would stand its 
practice on men themselves/' 

In July the influenza had nearly passed off, and he 
fulfilled his engagement to go to Aldeburgh the air of 
which he always sought if possible after that malady, 
having found it a quicker restorative than that of any 
other place he knew. 

In the second week of this month he was at rehearsals 
of Baron F. d'Erlanger's opera, Tess, at Covent Garden, 
and on the I4th was present with Mrs. Hardy at the first 
performance. Though Italianized to such an extent that 
Hardy scarcely recognized it as his novel, it was a great 
success in a crowded house, Queen Alexandra being 
among the distinguished audience. Destinn's voice suited 
the title-character admirably ; her appearance less so. 

In response to an invitation by Dr. Max Dessoir, a 
professor at the University of Berlin, who wished to have 
an epitome of the culture and thought of the time the 
" Weltanschauung " of a few representative men in Eng- 
land and Germany^ Hardy wrote the following during 
August this year : 

"We call our age an age of Freedom. Yet Freedom, 
under her incubus of armaments, territorial ambitions 
smugly disguised as patriotism, superstitions, conven- 
tions of every sort, is of such stunted proportions in this 
her so-called time, that the human race is likely to be 
extinct before Freedom arrives at maturity/* 

In the meantime he had been putting together poems 
written between whiles, some of them already printed in 
periodicals and in addition hunting up quite old ones 
dating from 1865, and overlooked in his earlier volumes* 
out of which he made a volume called Time's Laughing- 
stocks y and sent off the MS. to his publishers the first week 
in September. 

In continuance of the visits to cathedrals he went this 
autumn to Chichester, York, Edinburgh, and Durham ; 


and on returning to Dorchester was at a rehearsal of a 
play by Mr. A. H. Evans, the dramatist of the local 
Debating and Dramatic Society,, based on Far from the 
Madding Crowd, which was performed there in the Corn 
Exchange, and a few days later before the Society of 
Dorset Men in London. Hardy had nothing to do with 
the adaptation, but thought it a neater achievement 
than the London version of 1882 by Mr. Comyns Carr. 
In December Times Laughingstock* was published, 
and Hardy was in London, coming back as usual with a 
choking sore throat which confined him to his bed till the 
New Year, on the eve of which at twelve o'clock he 
crouched by the fire and heard in the silence of the night 
the ringing of the muffled peal down the chimney of his 
bedroom from the neighbouring church of St. George. 



1910: Aet. 69-70 

IN March, being at Ventnor, Hardy visited Swinburne's 
grave at Bonchurch, and composed the poem entitled 
"A Singer Asleep". It is remembered by a friend who 
accompanied him on this expedition how that windy 
March day had a poetry of its own, how primroses 
clustered in the hedges, and noisy rooks wheeled in the 
air over the little churchyard. Hardy gathered a spray of 
ivy and laid it on the grave of that brother-poet of whom 
he never spoke save in words of admiration and affection. 

" To the Secretary of the Humanitarian League. 


"loth April igio. 

"I am glad to think that the Humanitarian League 
has attained the handsome age of twenty years the 
Animals Defence Department particularly. 

"Few people seem to perceive fully as yet that the 
most far-reaching consequence of the establishment of the 
common origin of all species, is ethical ; that it logically 
involved a readjustment of altruistic morals by enlarging 
as a necessity of Tightness the application of what has been 
called 'The Golden Rule' beyond the area of mere man- 
kind to that of the whole animal kingdom. Possibly Dar- 
win himself did not wholly perceive it, though he alluded 



to it. While man was deemed to be a creation apart from 
all other creations, a secondary or tertiary morality was 
considered good enough towards the 'inferior' races; but 
no person who reasons nowadays can escape the trying 
conclusion that this is not maintainable. And though I 
myself do not at present see how the principle of equal 
justice all round is to be carried out in its entirety, I 
recognize that the League is grappling with the question. " 
It will be seen that in substance this agrees with a 
letter written earlier, and no doubt the subject was much 
in his mind just now. 

About this time Hardy was asked by the editor of 
Harper s Magazine to publish his reminiscences in the 
pages of that periodical month by month. He replied : 

"I could not appear in a better place. But it is 
absolutely unlikely that I shall ever change my present 
intention not to produce my reminiscences to the world." 

In this same month of April he was looking for a flat 
again in London, and found one at Blomfield Court, 
Maida Vale, which he and his wife and servants entered in 
May. Looking out of the window while at breakfast on the 
morning after their arrival, they beheld placarded in the 
street an announcement of the death of King Edward. 

Hardy saw from the Athenaeum the procession of the 
removal of the King's body to Westminster., and the 
procession of the funeral from Westminster three days 
later. On account of the suggestiveness of such events it 
must have been in these days that he wrote "A King's 
Soliloquy on the Night of his Funeral". His own seven- 
tieth birthday a fortnight later reminded him that he 
was a year older than the monarch who had just died. 

There was general satisfaction when Hardy's name 
appeared as a recipient of the Order of Merit in the Birth- 
day List of Honours in June 1910. He received numerous 
and gratifying telegrams and letters of congratulation from 


both friends and strangers, and, though he accepted the 
award with characteristic quietude, it was evident that this 
sign of official approval of his work brought him pleasure. 

At the flat the last one they were to take, as it hap- 
pened they received their usual friends as in previous 
years, and there were more performances of the Tess 
opera ; but in the middle of June they were compelled to 
cancel all engagements suddenly owing to Hardy's illness, 
which was happily but brief. In July he was able to go 
out again, and on the igth went to Marlborough House to 
be invested with the Order of Merit. The King received 
him pleasantly: "but afterwards I felt that I had failed 
in the accustomed formalities." 

Back in the country at the end of the month they 
entertained some visitors at Max Gate. A brief visit to 
Aldeburgh, where he met Professor Bury and Dr. (after- 
wards Sir James) Frazer, and a few cycle rides, diversified 
the close of this summer. 

In September he sat to Mr. William Strang for a 
sketch-portrait, which was required for hanging at Wind- 
sor Castle among those of other recipients of the Order of 
Merit; and on November 16 came the interesting occasion 
of the presentation of the freedom of Dorchester to Hardy, 
which appealed to his sentiment more perhaps than did 
many of those recognitions of his literary achievements 
that had come from the uttermost parts of the earth at a 
much earlier time. Among the very few speeches or 
lectures that he ever delivered, the one he made on this 
occasion was perhaps the most felicitous and personal : 

"Mr. Mayor and Gentlemen of the Corporation 
This is an occasion that speaks for itself, and so, happily, 
does not demand many remarks from me. In simply ex- 
pressing my sincere thanks for the high compliment paid 
me by having my name enrolled with those of the Honor- 
ary Freemen of this historic town, I may be allowed to 
confess that the freedom of the Borough of Dorchester did 


seem to me at first something that I had possessed a long 
while, had helped myself to (to speak plainly) , for when I 
consider the liberties I have taken with its ancient walls,, 
streets, and precincts through the medium of the printing- 
press, I feel that I have treated its external features with 
the hand of freedom indeed. True, it might be urged that 
my Casterbridge (if I may mention seriously a name coined 
off-hand in a moment with no thought of its becoming 
established and localized) is not Dorchester not even the 
Dorchester as it existed sixty years ago, but a dream-place 
that never was outside an irresponsible book. Neverthe- 
less, when somebody said to me that c Casterbridge' is a 
sort of essence of the town as it used to be, 'a place more 
Dorchester than Dorchester itself ', I could not absolutely 
contradict him, though I could not quite perceive it. At 
any rate, it is not a photograph in words, that inartistic 
species of literary produce, particularly in respect of per- 
sonages. But let me say no more about my own doings. 
The chronicle of the town has vivid marks on it. Not to go 
back to events of national importance, lurid scenes have 
been enacted here within living memory, or not so many 
years beyond it, whippings in front of the town-pump, 
hangings on the gaol-roof. I myself saw a woman hanged 
not 100 yards from where we now stand, and I saw, too, 
a man in the .stocks in the back part of this very building. 
Then, if one were to recount the election excitements, 
Free Trade riots, scenes of soldiers marching down the 
town to war, the proclamation of Sovereigns now 
crumbled to dust, it would be an interesting local story. 
" Miss Burney, in her diary, speaks of its aspect when 
she drove through with the rest of King George's Court 
on her way to Weymouth. She says : ' The houses have the 
most ancient appearance of any that are inhabited that I 
have happened to see.' This is not quite the case now, and 
though we may regret the disappearance of these old 
buildings, I cannot be blind to the difficulty of keeping a 


town in what may be called working order while retaining 
all its ancient features. Yet it must not be forgotten that 
these are its chief attractions for visitors, particularly 
American visitors. Old houses, in short, have a far larger 
commercial value than their owners always remember, 
and it is only when they have been destroyed, and tourists 
who have come to see them vow in their disappointment 
that they will never visit the spot again, that this is realized. 
An American gentleman came to me the other day in 
quite a bad temper, saying that he had diverged from his 
direct route from London to Liverpool to see ancient Dor- 
chester, only to discover that he knew a hundred towns in 
theUnited States more ancient-looking than tl&sfaug&ter) . 
Well, we may be older than we look, like some ladies ; but 
if, for instance, the original All-Saints and Trinity 
Churches, with their square towers, the castle, the fine 
mansion of theTrenchards at the corner of Shirehall Lane, 
the old Three Mariners Inn, the old Greyhound, the old 
Antelope, Lady Abingdon's house at the corner of Durn- 
gate Street, and other mediaeval buildings were still in 
their places, more visitors of antiquarian tastes would 
probably haunt the town than haunt it now. Old All- 
Saints was, I believe, demolished because its buttresses 
projected too far into the pavement. What a reason for 
destroying a record of 500 years in stone ! I knew the 
architect who did it; a milder-mannered man never 
scuttled a sacred edifice. Milton's well-known observa- 
tion in his Areopagitica ' Almost as well kill a man as kill 
a good book' applies not a little to a good old building ; 
which is not only a book but a unique manuscript that 
has no fellow. But corporations as such cannot help 
these removals ; they can only be prevented by the edu- 
cation of their owners or temporary trustees, or 3 in the 
case of churches, by Government guardianship. 

"And when all has been said on the desirability of pre- 
serving as much as can be preserved, our power to pre- 


serve is largely an illusion. Where is the Dorchester of my 
early recollection I mean the human Dorchester the 
kernel of which the houses were but the shell ? Of the 
shops as I first recall them not a single owner remains ; 
only in two or three instances does even the name remain. 
As a German author has said, 'Nothing is permanent but 
change '. Here in Dorchester, as elsewhere, I see the streets 
and the turnings not far different from those of my school- 
boy time ; but the faces that used to be seen at the doors, 
the inhabitants, where are they ? I turn up the Weymouth 
Road, cross the railway-bridge, enter an iron gate to 'a 
slope of green access', and there they are ! There is the 
Dorchester that I knew best; there are names on white 
stones one after the other, names that recall the voices, 
cheerful and sad, anxious and indifferent, that are missing 
from the dwellings and pavements. Those who are old 
enough to have had that experience may feel that after all 
the permanence or otherwise of inanimate Dorchester con- 
cerns but the permanence of what is minor and accessory. 
"As to the future of the town, my impression is that its 
tendency is to become more and more a residential spot, 
and that the nature of its business will be mainly that of 
administering to the wants of "private residents* as they 
are called. There are several reasons for supposing this. 
The dryness of its atmosphere and subsoil is unexcelled. 
It has the great advantage of standing near the coast with- 
out being on it, thus escaping the objections some people 
make to a winter residence close to the sea ; while the 
marine tincture in its breezes tempers the keenness which 
is felt in those of high and dry chalk slopes further inland. 
Dorchester's future will not be like its past; we may 
be sure of that. Like all other provincial towns, it will 
lose its individuality has lost much of it already. We 
have , become almost a London suburb owing to the 
quickened locomotion, and, though some of us may 
regret this, it has to be. 


"I will detain you no longer from Mr. Evans's comedy 
that is about to be played downstairs. Ruskin somewhere 
says that comedy is tragedy if you only look deep enough. 
Well, that is a thought to remember ; but to-night, at any 
rate, we will all be young and not look too deeply." 

After the presentation which was witnessed by Mrs. 
Hardy, by Mr. (afterwards Sir Henry) Newbolt, by the 
writer of this memoir, and by other friends, the Dor- 
chester Dramatic Society gave for the first time, at the 
hands of their own dramatist, an adaptation of Under the 
Greenwood Tree entitled The Melhtock Squire the second 
title of the novel Hardy himself doing no more than 
supply the original carols formerly sung by the Quire of 
the parish outshadowed by the name "Mellstock" the 
village of Stinsford, a mile from the town. ' 

In December the American fleet paid a visit to Port- 
land Roads, and though the weather was bad while they 
were lying there Hardy went on board the battleship Con- 
necticut, where he met the captain, commander, and 
others ; who, with several more officers, afterwards visited 
him and Mrs. Hardy at Max Gate. On the 2gth they 
went on board the English Dreadnought, which was also 
lying there, and thence to a dance on board the United 
States Flagship Louisiana, to which they were welcomed 
by Admiral Vreeland. 

It was at the end of this year that Hardy published 
in the Fortnightly Review some verses entitled "God's 
Funeral ". The alternative title he had submitted for the 
poem was "The Funeral of Jahveh" the subject being 
the gradual decline and extinction in the human race of a 
belief in an anthropomorphic god of the King of Dahomey 
type a fact recognised by all bodies of theologians for 
many years. But the editor, thinking the longer title 
clumsy and obscure, chose the other, to which Hardy 
made no objection, supposing the meaning of his poem 
would be clear enough to readers. 


1911-1912: Aet. 70-72 

IN March (1911) Hardy received a letter from M. Emile 
Bergerat of Paris asking him to let his name appear as one 
of the Committee for honouring Theophile Gautier on his 
approaching centenary, to which Hardy readily agreed. 
In the same month he visited Bristol Cathedral and Bath 
Abbey, and in April attended the funeral of the Mayor of 
Dorchester, who had presented him with the freedom of 
the borough but a few months earlier. A sequence of verses 
by Hardy, entitled "Satires of Circumstance", which 
were published in the Fortnightly Review at this junc- 
ture, met with much attention both here and in America. 

In April he and his brother, in pursuance of a plan of 
seeing or re-seeing all the English cathedrals, visited 
Lichfield, Worcester, and Hereford. 

He makes only one note this spring: "View the 
matrices rather than the moulds/' 

Hardy had been compelled to decline in February an in- 
vitation from the Earl-Marshal to the Coronation in West- 
minster Abbey in the coming June. That month found him 
on a tour with his brother in the Lake Country, including 
Carlisle Cathedral and Castle, where the dungeons were 
another reminder to him of how "evil men out of the evil 
treasure of their hearts have brought forth evil things". 
However, the tour was agreeable enough despite the wet 
weather, and probably Hardy got more pleasure out of 


Coronation Day by spending it on Windermere than he 
would have done by spending it in a seat at the Abbey. 

Of Grasmere Churchyard he says: "Wordsworth's 
headstone and grave are looking very trim and new. A 
group of tourists who have never read a line of him sit 
near, addressing and sending off picture postcards, . . . 
Wrote some verses." He visited Chester Cathedral com- 
ing homeward, called at Rugby, and went over the school 
and chapel ; and returned to Dorchester through London. 

After his return he signed, with many other well-known 
people, a protest against the use of aerial vessels in war ; 
appealing to all governments "to foster by any means in 
their power an international understanding which shall 
preserve the world from warfare in the air". A futile pro- 
test indeed ! 

In July Hardy took his sister Katherine on an excur- 
sion to North Somerset, stopping at Minehead, and going 
on by coach to Porlock and Lynmouth. Thence they went 
by steamer to Ilfracombe, intending to proceed through 
Exeter to South Devon. But the heat was so great that 
further travelling was abandoned, and after going over 
the cathedral they returned home. 

In the preceding month, it may be remarked, had died 
Mr. W. J. Last, A.M.LC.E., Director of the Science 
Museum, South Kensington, who was a son of Hardy's 
old Dorchester schoolmaster, Isaac Glandfield Last. The 
obituary notices that appeared in The Times and other 
papers gave details of a life more successful than his 
father's, though not of higher intellectual ability than 
that by which it had been Hardy's good fortune to profit. 

At the end of the month Mr. Sydney Cockerell, direc- 
tor of the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, called, mainly 
to inquire about Hardy 's old manuscripts, which was the 
occasion of his looking up those that he could find and 
handing them over to Mr. Cockerell to distribute as he 
thought fit among any museums that would care to pos- 


sess one. Hardy himself preferring to have no voice in the 
matter. In the course of October this was done by Mr. 
Cockerell, the MSS. of The Dynasts and Tessofthed'Urber- 
miles being accepted by the British Museum, of Timers 
Laughingstock^ and Jude the Obscure by the Fitzwilliam, 
and of Wessex Poems y with illustrations by the author 
himself (the only volume he ever largely illustrated), by 
Birmingham. Others were distributed from time to time 
by Mr. Cockerell, to whom Hardy had sent all the MSS. 
for him to do what he liked with, having insisted that "it 
would not be becoming for a writer to send his own MSS. 
to a museum on his own judgement". 

' It may be mentioned in passing that in these months 
Mr. F. Saxelby of Birmingham, having been attracted to 
Hardy's works by finding in them a name which resembled 
his own, published "A Hardy Dictionary" containing 
the names of persons and places in the author's novels and 
poems. Hardy had offered no objection to its being 
issued, but accepted no responsibility for its accuracy. 

In November the Dorchester Debating and Dramatic 
Society gave another performance of plays from the Wes- 
sex novels. This time the selection was the short one-act 
piece that Hardy had dramatized himself many years 
before, from the story called The Three Strangers y entitled 
The ThreeWayjarers; and a rendering by Mr. A. H. Evans 
of the tale of The Distracted Preacher. The Hardys' friend, 
Mrs. Arthur Henniker, came all the way from London to 
see it, and went with his wife and himself. 

The curator of the Dorset County Museum having 
expressed a wish for a MS. of Hardy's, he sent this month 
the holograph of The Mayor of Casterbridge. 

Being interested at this time in the only Gothic style 
of architecture that can be called especially and exclusively 
English the perpendicular style of the fifteenth century 
Hardy made a journey to Gloucester to investigate its 


origin in that cathedral, which he ascertained to be in the 
screen between the south aisle and the transept a fact 
long known probably to other investigators, but only re- 
cently to him. He was so much impressed by the thought 
that the inventor's name, like the names of the authors of 
so many noble songs and ballads, was unknown, that on 
his return he composed a poem thereon, called "The 
Abbey Mason", which was published a little later in 
Harper's Magazine^ and later still was included in a 
volume with other poems. 

The illness of his elder sister Mary saddened the close 
of 1911 ; and it was during this year that his wife wrote 
the Reminiscences printed in the earlier pages of this 
book, as if she had premonitions that her end was not far 
off; though nobody else suspected it. 

The year 1912, which was to advance and end in such 
gloom for Hardy, began serenely. In January he went to 
London for a day or two and witnessed the performance 
of Oedipus at Covent Garden. But in February he learnt 
of the death of his friend, General Henniker, and in April 
occurred the disaster to the Titanic steamship, upon 
which he wrote the poem called "The Convergence of 
the Twain ", in aid of the Fund for the sufferers. 

On the 22nd April Hardy was correcting proofs for a 
new edition of his works, the Wessex Edition, concerning 
which he wrote to a friend : 

"... I am now on to p. 140 of The Woodlanders 
(in copy I mean, not in proofs, of course). That is vol. vi. 
Some of the later ones will be shorter. I read ten hours 
yesterday finishing the proofs of the * Native * (wh. I have 
thus got rid of). I got to like the character of Clym before 
I had done with him. I think he is the nicest of all my 
heroes, and not a bit like me. On taking up The Woodlanders 
and reading it after many years I think I like it as a story y 
the best of all. Perhaps that is owing to the locality and 

152 "TIME'S LAUGHINGSTOCKS" i 9 n-i 2 

scenery of the action, a part I am very fond of. It seems a 
more quaint and fresh story than the 'Native*, and the 
characters are very distinctly drawn. . . . Seven o'clock 
P.M. It has come on to rain a little: a blackbird is singing 
outside. I have read on to p. 185 of The Woodlanders 
since the early part of my letter." 

The Hardys dined with a few friends in London this 
season, but did not take a house,, putting up at a hotel 
with which Hardy had long been familiar, the "West 
Central" in Southampton Row. 

On June I at Max Gate they had a pleasant week-end 
visit from Henry Newbolt and W. B. Yeats, who had 
been deputed by the Royal Society of Literature to present 
Hardy with the Society's gold medal on his seventy- 
second birthday. These two eminent men of letters were 
the only people entertained at Max Gate for the occasion ; 
but everything was done as methodically as if there had 
been a large audience. Hardy says : "Newbolt wasted on 
the nearly empty room the best speech he ever made in 
his life, and Yeats wasted a very good one : mine in re- 
turning thanks was as usual a bad one, and the audience 
was quite properly limited." 

In the middle of June he was in London at Lady St. 
Helier's, and went to the play of Bunty putts the Strings 
with her. An amusing anticlimax to a story of the three- 
crow type occurred in connection with this or some other 
popular play of the date. It was currently reported and 
credited that Mr. Asquith had gone to see it eight times, 
and Mr. Balfour sixteen. Taking Miss Balfour in to din- 
ner and discussing the play, Hardy told her of the report, 
and she informed him that her brother had been only 
once. How few the visits of Mr. Asquith were could not 
be ascertained. Possibly he had not gone at all. 

Later on in the autumn a letter was addressed to him 
on a gross abuse which was said to have occurred that 
of publishing details of a lately deceased man's life under 


the guise of a novel, with assurances of truth scattered in 
the newspapers. In the course of his reply he said : 

"What should certainly be protested against, in cases 
where there is no authorization,, is the mixing of fact and 
fiction in unknown proportions. Infinite mischief would 
lie in that. If any statements in the dress of fiction are 
covertly hinted to be fact, all must be fact, and nothing 
else but fact, for obvious reasons. The power of getting 
lies believed about people through that channel after they 
are dead, by stirring in a few truths, is a horror to 

"June. Here is a sentence from the Edinburgh Review 
of a short time back which I might have written myself : 
"The division [of poems] into separate groups [ballad, 
lyrical, narrative, &c.] is frequently a question of the 
preponderance, not of the exclusive possession, of certain 
aesthetic elements.' " 

Meanwhile in July he had returned to Max Gate just 
in time to be at a garden party on July 16 the last his 
wife ever gave which it would have much grieved him 
afterwards to have missed. The afternoon was sunny and 
the guests numerous on this final one of many occasions 
of such a gathering on the lawn there, and nobody fore- 
saw the shadow that was so soon to fall on the house, 
Mrs. Hardy being then, apparently, in her customary 
health and vigour. In the following month, August, she 
was at Weymouth for the last time; and Hardy took 
her and her niece to see the performance of Bunty at the 
Pavilion Theatre. It was her last play. 

However, she was noticed to be weaker later on in the 
autumn, though not ill, and complained of her heart at 
times. Strangely enough, she one day suddenly sat down 
to the piano and played a long series of her favourite old 
tunes, saying at the end she would never play any more. 
The poem called "The Last Performance " approximately 
describes this incident. 


She went out up to the 22nd November, when, though 
it was a damp, dark afternoon, she motored to pay a visit 
six miles off. The next day she was distinctly unwell, and 
the day after that was her birthday, when she seemed de- 
pressed. On the 25th two ladies called; and though she 
consulted with her husband whether or not to go down- 
stairs to see them, and he suggested that she should not 
in her weak state, she did go down. The strain obliged 
her to retire immediately they had left. She never went 
downstairs again. 

The next day she agreed to see a doctor, who did not 
think her seriously ill, but weak from want of nourish- 
ment through indigestion. In the evening she assented 
quite willingly to Hardy's suggestion that he should go to 
a rehearsal in Dorchester of a play made by the local 
company, that he had promised to attend. When he got 
back at eleven o'clock all the house was in bed and he 
did not disturb her. 

The next morning the maid told him in answer to his 
inquiry that when she had as usual entered Mrs. Hardy's 
room a little earlier she had said she was better, and 
would probably get up later on ; but that she now seemed 
worse. Hastening to her he was shocked to find her much 
worse, lying with her eyes closed and unconscious. The 
doctor came quite quickly, but before he arrived her 
breathing softened and ceased. 

It was the day fixed for the performance of The 
Trumpet-Major in Dorchester, and it being found im- 
possible to put off the play at such short notice, so many 
people having come from a distance for it, it was pro- 
duced, an announcement of Mrs. Hardy's unexpected 
death being made from the stage. 

Many years earlier she had fancied that she would like 
to be buried at Plymouth, her native place ; but on going 
there to the funeral of her father she found that during a 

70-72 BEREAVEMENT 155 

"restoration" the family vault in Charles Churchyard, 
though it was not full, had been broken into, if not 
removed altogether, either to alter the entrance to the 
church, or to erect steps ; and on coming back she told 
her husband that this had quite destroyed her wish to be 
taken there, since she could not lie near her parents. 

There was one nook, indeed, which in some respects 
was pre-eminently the place where she might have lain 
the graveyard of St. Juliot, Cornwall whose dilapidated 
old church had been the cause of their meeting, and in 
whose precincts the early scenes of their romance had a 
brief being. But circumstances ordered otherwise. Hardy 
did not favour the thought of her being carried to that 
lonely coast unless he could be carried thither likewise in 
due time ; and on this point all was uncertain. The funeral 
was accordingly at Stinsford, a mile from Dorchester and 
Max Gate, where the Hardys had buried for many years. 

She had not mentioned to her husband, or to anybody 
else so far as he could discover, that she had any anticipa- 
tions of death before it occurred so suddenly. Yet on his 
discovery of the manuscript of her "Recollections ", writ- 
ten only a year earlier, it seemed as if some kind of pre- 
sentiment must have crossed her mind that she was not 
to be much longer in the world, and that if her brief 
memories were to be written it were best to write them 
quickly. This is, however, but conjecture. 


1913-1914: Aet. 72-74 

MANY poems were written by Hardy at the end of the 
previous year and the early part of this more than he 
had ever written before in the same space of time as can 
be seen by referring to their subjects, as well as to the 
dates attached to them. To adopt Walpole's words con- 
cerning Gray, Hardy was "in flower" in these days, and, 
like Gray's, his flower was sad-coloured. 

On March 6 almost to a day, forty-three years after 
his first journey to Cornwall he started for St. Julio t, 
putting up at Boscastle, and visiting Pentargan Bay and 
Beeny Cliff, on which he had not once set foot in the long 

He found the rectory and other scenes with which he 
had been so familiar changed a little, but not greatly, and 
returning by way of Plymouth arranged for a memorial 
tablet to Mrs. Hardy in the church with which she had 
been so closely associated as organist before her marriage, 
and in other ways. The tablet was afterwards erected to 
his own design, as was also the tomb in Stinsford Church- 
yard in the preparation of which memorials he had to 
revive a species of work that he had been unaccustomed 
to since the years of his architectural pupilage. 

In June he left for Cambridge to receive the Hon. 
Degree of Litt.D., and lunched with the Master of Mag- 
dalene (also Vice-Chancellor), Dr. Donaldson, and Lady 





Albinia Donaldson, meeting some for the first and last 
time the Master of Trinity and Mrs. Butler, John Sar- 
gent, Arthur Benson, Henry Jackson, Vice-Master of 
Trinity and the Regius Professor of Greek, Sir James 
Murray, and many others. The visit was full of interest 
for Hardy as the sequel to his long indirect connection 
with the University in several ways, partly through the 
many graduates who were his friends, his frequent visits 
to the place, and his intention in the eighteen-sixties to 
go up himself for a pass-degree, which was abandoned 
mainly owing to his discovery that he could not con- 
scientiously carry out his idea of taking Orders. A few 
weeks later he was elected an Honorary Fellow of Mag- 
dalene, as will be seen. 

In July he was in London once or twice, meeting Dr. 
Page, the American Ambassador, Mr. and Mrs. Asquith, 
and others here and there. A German translation of The 
Mayor of Casterbridge under the title of Der Burgermeister 
was begun as a serial in Germany at this time, and in the 
same month the gift of the MS. of his poem on Swin- 
burne's death was acknowledged by the Newnes Librarian 
at Putney, an offer which had originated with Mr. Sydney 
Cockerell. In response to a request from the Secretary of 
the General Blind Association, he gave his permission to 
put some of his books in prose and verse into Braille type 
for the use of the blind, adding : 

"I cannot very well suggest which, as I do not know 
the length you require. ... If a full-length novel, I 
would suggest The Trumpet-Major. If verse, the Battle of 
Trafalgar scenes or the Battle of Waterloo scenes from 
The Dynasts or a selection from the Poems. ... I am 
assuming that you require scenes of action rather than 
those of reflection or analysis." 

In August he was at Blandford with Mr. John Lane 
searching about for facts and scenes that might illustrate 
the life of Alfred Stevens, the sculptor, whose best-known 


work is the Wellington monument in St. Paul's, and who 
was born and grew up in this town. Hardy had suggested 
that It ought to be written before it was too late, and Mr. 
Lane had taken up the idea. The house of his birth was 
discovered, but not much material seems to have been 
gained. It was not till a year or two later that Hardy dis- 
covered that Stevens's father painted the Ten Command- 
ments in the church of Blandford St. Mary., his name 
being in the corner: "G. Stevens, Blandford, 1825." 

"September 15. Thoughts on the recent school of 
novel-writers. They forget in their insistence on life, and 
nothing but life, in a plain slice, that a story must be worth 
the tellingy that a good deal of life is not worth any such 
thing,, and that they must not occupy a reader's time with 
what he can get at first hand anywhere around him." 

The autumn glided on with its trifling incidents. In 
the muddle of Hardy's unmistressed housekeeping ani- 
mal pets of his late wife died, strayed, or were killed, 
much to Hardy's regret; short visits were paid by friends, 
including Mr. Frederic Harrison; and in November, while 
staying with the Master of his College, Hardy was ad- 
mitted in chapel as Honorary Fellow, "The ceremony, 
which consists of a Latin formula of admission before the 
Altar, and the handing-in of the new Fellow into his stall, 
was not unimpressive", said the Cambridge Review. 
Hardy had read the lessons in Church in his young man- 
hood, besides having had much to do with churches in 
otherways, and the experience may have recalled the old 
ecclesiastical times. In the evening he dined in Hall, 
where "the Master proposed the health of him who was 
no longer a guest, but one of the Society, and the day's 
proceedings terminated happily", continued the Cam- 
bridge Review. It was an agreeable evening for Hardy, 
Mr. A. E. Housman and Sir Clifford Allbutt being present 
as guests among others of his friends. 

A good sketch-painting of him was made this autumn 


by Mr. Fuller Maitland for his friend Arthur Benson, to 
be hung with the other portraits in the hall of Magdalene 
College ; and in the middle of November the Dorchester 
amateurs' version of The Woodlanders adapted by them- 
selves, was performed on the Dorchester stage, but 
Hardy was not present on the occasion. 

In the December of this year M. Anatole France was 
entertained at a dinner in London by a committee of men 
of letters and of affairs. Hardy was much disappointed 
at being unable to attend ; and he wrote to express his 
regret, adding : 

"In these days when the literature of narrative and 
verse seems to be losing its qualities as an art, and to be 
assuming a structureless and conglomerate character, it is 
a privilege that we should have come into our midst a 
writer who is faithful to the principles that make for per- 
manence, who never forgets the value of organic form and 
symmetry, the force of reserve, and the emphasis of 
understatement, even in his lighter works/' 

In February of the year following (1914) the subject 
of this memoir married the present writer. 

In the spring of the same year Hardy was at the din- 
ner of the Royal Academy, and he and his wife saw several 
friends in London, afterwards proceeding to Cambridge, 
where they spent a pleasant week in visiting and meeting 
Mr. Arthur Benson, Professor and Mrs. Bury, Mr. and 
Mrs. Cockerell, Professor Quiller-Couch, the Master of 
Jesus, Dr. James, Provost of King's, Dr. and Mrs. McTag- 
gart, and the oldest friend of Hardy's in Cambridge, or 
for that matter anywhere, Mr. Charles Moule, President 
and formerly Tutor of Corpus, who had known him as a 
boy, A dinner at St. John's the "Porte-Latin Feast" 
with the mellow radiance of the dark mahogany tables, 
curling tobacco smoke, and old red wine, charmed Hardy, 
in spite of his drinking very little, and not smoking at all. 


A visit to Girton and tea with Miss Jones and members of 
her staff ended the Cambridge week for them. 

Although Hardy had no sort of anticipation of the re- 
strictions that the war was so soon to bring on motoring, 
he went about in a car this early summer almost as if he 
foresaw what was coming, taking his wife to Exeter, 
Plymouth,, and back across Dartmoor- 
After serving as a Grand Juror at the Assizes he dined 
during June with the Royal Institute of British Archi- 
tects, a body of which he had never lost sight on account 
of his early associations with the profession, though 
nearly all the members he had known except his old 
acquaintance, the Vice-President, John Slater, and the 
Blomfields had passed away. 

A communication from men of letters and art in Ger- 
many who thought of honouring the memory of Friedrich 
Nietzsche on the seventieth anniversary of his birth, was 
the occasion of Hardy's writing at this date : 

"It is a question whether Nietzsche's philosophy is 
sufficiently coherent to be of great ultimate value, and 
whether those views of his which seem so novel and strik- 
ing appear thus only because they have been rejected for 
so many centuries as inadmissible under humane rule. 

"A continuity of consciousness through the human 
race would be the only justification of his proposed 

r"He assumes throughout the great worth intrinsically 
of human masterfulness. The universe is to him a perfect 
machine which only requires thorough handling to work 
wonders. He forgets that the universe is an imperfect 
machine, and that to do good with an ill-working instru- 
ment requires endless adjustments and compromises."* 

There was nothing to tell of the convulsion of nations 
that was now imminent, and in Dorset they visited vari- 
ous friends and stayed a week-end with Sir Henry and 
Lady Hoare at Stourhead (where they met as their fellow 

From a drawing by W. Strang, R.A. 


guests Mr. and Mrs* Charles Whibley, the former of 
whom Hardy had long known, though they had not met 
for years). To Hardy as to ordinary civilians the murder 
at Serajevo was a lurid and striking tragedy, but carried 
no indication that it would much affect English life. On 
July 28 th, they were at a quiet little garden party near 
Dorchester, and still there was no sign of the coming 
storm : the next day they lunched about five miles off 
with friends at Ilsington, and paid a call or two this 
being the day on which war was declared by Austria on 
Serbia. Hardy made a few entries just after this date : 

"August 4, n P.M. War declared with Germany/' 

On this day they were lunching at Athelhampton Hall, 
six miles off, where a telegram came announcing the 
rumour to be fact. A discussion arose about food, and 
there was almost a panic at the table, nobody having any 
stock. But the full dimensions of what the English decla- 
ration meant were not quite realized at once. Their host 
disappeared to inquire into his stock of flour. The whole 
news and what it involved burst upon Hardy's mind next 
morning, for though most people were saying the war 
would be over by Christmas he felt it might be a matter 
of years and untold disaster. 

"August 9-15. English Expeditionary Force crosses 
the Channel to assist France and Belgium/' 

"August on wards. War excitement. 'Quicquiddelirant 
reges, plectuntur Achivi P " It was the quotation Hardy 
had made at the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian war 
forty-four years earlier, when he was quite a young man. 

He had been completely at fault, as he often owned, 
on the coming so soon of such a convulsion as the war, 
though only three or four months before it broke out he 
had printed a prophetic poem in the Fortnightly entitled 
" Channel Firing", whereof the theme, 

All nations striving strong to make 
Red war yet redder, 


was, to say the least, a perception singularly coincident. 
However, as stated, that it would really burst, he doubted. 
When the noisy crew of music-hall Jingoes said exultingly, 
years earlier, that Germany was. as anxious for war as 
they were themselves, he had felt convinced that they were 
wrong. He had thought that the play, An Englishman's 
Home, which he witnessed by chance when it was pro- 
duced, ought to have been suppressed as provocative, since 
it gave Germany, even if pacific in intention beforehand, 
a reason, or excuse, for directing her mind on a war with 
England. A long study of the European wars of a century 
earlier had made it appear to him that common sense had 
taken the place of bluster in men 's minds ; and he felt this 
so strongly that in the very year before war burst on 
Europe he wrote some verses called "His Country", bear- 
ing on the decline of antagonism between peoples ; and as 
long before as 1901 he composed a poem called "The Sick 
Battle-God ", which assumed that zest for slaughter was 
dying out. It was seldom he had felt so heavy at heart as 
in seeing his old view of the gradual bettering of human 
nature, as expressed in these verses of 1901, completely 
shattered by the events of 1914 and onwards. War, he had 
supposed, had grown too coldly scientific to kindle again 
for long all the ardent romance which had characterized 
it down to Napoleonic times, when the most intense battles 
were over in a day, and the most exciting tactics and 
strategy led to the death of comparatively few combatants. 
Hence nobody was more amazed than he at the German 
incursion into Belgium, and the contemplation of it led 
him to despair of the world 's history thenceforward. He 
had not reckoned on the power still retained there by the 
governing castes whose interests were not the people's. It 
was, however, no use to despair, and since Germany had 
not shown the rationality he had expected of her, he pres- 
ently began to consider if there was anything he an old 
man of seventy-four could do in the critical circum- 


stances. A slight opening seemed to offer when he received 
a letter from the Government asking his attendance at a 
private Conference in which eminent literary men and 
women who commanded confidence abroad "should take 
steps to place the strength of the British case and the 
principles for which the British troops and their allies are 
fighting before the populations of neutral countries". He 
went to London expressly to attend, as explained in the 
following memorandum : 

"September 2. To London in obedience to a summons 
by Mr. Masterman, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lan- 
caster, at the instance of the Cabinet, for the organiza- 
tion of public statements of the strength of the British 
case and principles in the war by well-known men of 

This meeting was at Wellington House, Buckingham 
Gate, and in view of what the country was entering on 
has a historic significance. There was a medley of writers 
present, including, in addition to the Chairman, Mr. 
Masterrnan, among Hardy's friends and acquaintance, 
Sir James Barrie, Sir Henry Newbolt, J. W. Mackail, Arthur 
and Monsignor Benson, John Galsworthy, Sir Owen Sea- 
man, G. M. Trevelyan, H. G. Wells, Arnold Bennett, John 
Masefield, Robert Bridges, Anthony Hope Hawkins, Gil- 
bert Murray, and many others. Whatever the effect of the 
discussion, the scene was impressive to more than one of 
them there. In recalling it Hardy said that the yellow 
September sun shone in from the dusty street with a 
tragic cast upon them, as they sat round the large blue 
table, full of misgivings, yet unforeseeing in all their com- 
pleteness the tremendous events that were to follow. The 
same evening Hardy left London " the streets hot and 
sad, and bustling with soldiers and recruits" to set about 
some contribution to the various forms of manifesto that 
had been discussed. 

In Dorset the Hardys kept up between whiles their 


motoring through September, visiting Broadwindsor, Ax- 
minster, the summit called " Cross-in~hand ", from which 
both the Bristol and English Channels are visible, and on 
which many years earlier Hardy had written a traditional 
poem," The Lost Pyx" ; also Bridport, Abbotsbury,Porti- 
sham, including the old residence of Admiral Hardy's 
father, still intact with its dial in the garden, dated 

In the same month he published in The Times the 
soldiers ' war-song called "Men who March Away ", which 
won an enormous popularity ; and in October wrote "Eng- 
land to Germany", a sonnet "On the Belgian Expatria- 
tion" for King Albert's Book> and in the papers a letter 
on the destruction of Reims Cathedral. This month, too, 
he brought out another volume of verses entitled Satires 
of Circumstance, Lyrics and Reveries the book being 
made up of the "Satires in Fifteen Glimpses " 5 published 
in a periodical in 191 1, and other poems of a very different 
kind with which the satires ill harmonized the latter 
filling but fifteen pages in a volume of 230 pages. These 
were caustically humorous productions which had been 
issued with a light heart before the war. So much shadow, 
domestic and public, had passed over his head since he 
had written the satires that he was in no mood now to 
publish humour or irony, and hence he would readily have 
suppressed them if they had not already gained such cur- 
rency from magazine publication that he could not do it. 
The "Lyrics and Reveries" which filled the far greater 
part of the volume, contained some of the tenderest and 
least satirical verse that ever came from his pen. 

In November he and his wife went to London to a 
rehearsal of a portion of The Dynasts^ which Mr. Granville- 
Barker was then preparing for the stage at the Kingsway 
Theatre, and which was produced there on the 25th No- 
vember, though the author had never dreamt of a single 
scene of it being staged. Owing to a cold Hardy was 


unable to be present on the first representation but he 
went up two or three weeks later. 

Hardy's idea had been that the performance should 
be called what it really was, namely^ "Scenes from The 
Dynasts" as being less liable to misconception than the 
book-title unmodified, since people might suppose the 
whole epic-drama was to be presented, which was quite 
an impossibility, However 3 as the scheme of the produc- 
tion was Mr. Granville-Barker's own, as he had himself 
selected all the scenes, Hardy did not interfere, either with 
this or any other detail. The one feature he could par- 
ticularly have wished altered was that of retaining indoor 
architecture for outdoor scenes > it being difficult for the 
spectator to realize say in the Battle of Waterloo that 
an open field was represented when pillars and architraves 
hemmed it in. He thought that for the open scenes a 
perfectly plain green floor cloth and blue backcloth would 
have suited better. But the theatre 's resources of space 
were very limited. However, the production was artisti- 
cally successful. 

More verses on the war were written by Hardy in 
December, including "An Appeal to America**, A sad 
vigil, during which no bells were heard at Max Gate, 
brought in the first New Year of this unprecedented 
"breaking of nations". 

It may be added here that the war destroyed all 
Hardy 's belief in the gradual ennoblement of man, a be- 
lief he had held for many years, as is shown by poems 
like "The Sick Battle-God", and others. He said he would 
probably not have ended The Dynasts as he did end it if 
he could have foreseen what was going to happen within 
a few years. 

Moreover, the war gave the coup de grace to any con- 
ception he may have nourished of a fundamental ultimate 
Wisdom at the back of things. With his views on necessi- 
tation, or at most a very limited free will, events seemed 


to show him that a fancy he had often held and expressed* 
that the never-ending push of the Universe was an un- 
purposive and irresponsible groping in the direction of 
the least resistance, might possibly be the real truth. 
"Whether or no"* he would say, 

"Desine fata Deum flecti sperare precando." 


[E. 0. Hoppt 



1915-1917: Aet. 74-77 

HE seems to have been studying the Principia Ethica of 
Dr. G. E. Moore early this year ; and also the philosophy 
of Bergson. Writing on the latter in answer to a letter 
from Dr. C. W. Saleeby on the subject, he states: 

"I suppose I may think that you are more or less a 
disciple of his, or fellow-philosopher with him. Therefore 
you may be rather shocked at some views I hold about his 
teaching or did hold, anyhow. His theories are much 
pleasanter ones than those they contest, and I for one 
would gladly believe them ; but I cannot help feeling all 
the time that his is rather an imaginative and poetical 
mind than a reasoner's^ and that for his charming and 
attractive assertions he does not adduce any proofs what- 
ever. His use of the word c creation * seems to me loose and 
vague. Then as to conduct : I fail to see how, if it is not 
mechanism, it can be other than caprice, though he denies 
it. Yet I quite agree with him in regarding finalism as an 
erroneous doctrine. He says, however, that mechanism 
and finalism are only external views of our conduct 'Our 
conduct extends between them, and slips much further'. 
Well it may, but he nowhere shows that it does. 

"Then again : 'A mechanistic conception , . . treats 
the living as the inert. . . . Let us, on the contrary, trace 
a line of demarcation between the inert and the living/ 


168 "MOMENTS OF VISION" 1915-17 

Well, let us, to our great pleasure, if we can see why we 
should introduce an inconsistent rupture of Order into a 
uniform and consistent Law of the same. 

" You will see how much I want to have the pleasure 
of being a Bergsonian. But I fear his theory is, in the bulk, 
only our old friend Dualism in a new suit of clothes an 
ingenious fancy without real foundation, and more com- 
plicated than the fancies he endeavours to overthrow. 

"You must not think me a hard-headed rationalist for 
all this. Half my time particularly when writing verse 
I 'believe' (in the modern sense of the word) not only in 
the things Bergson believes in, but in spectres, mysterious 
voices, intuitions, omens, dreams, haunted places, etc., 
etc. But I do not believe in them in the old sense of the 
word any more for that. . . . 

"By the way, how do you explain the following from 
the Cambridge Magazine, by a writer whom I imagine to 
be of a school of thinkers akin to your own, concerning 
Herbert Spencer's doctrine of the Unknowable ? 

" ' We doubt if there is a single philosopher alive to-day 
who would subscribe to it. Even men of science are gradu- 
ally discarding it in favour of Realism and Pragmatism/ 

"I am utterly bewildered to understand how the doc- 
trine that, beyond the knowable, there must always be 
an unknown, can be displaced." 

In April a distant cousin of promising ability a lieu- 
tenant in the 5th Batt. Dorset Regiment came to see him 
before going abroad, never to be seen by him again ; and 
in the following month he sat to Mr. [Sir Hamo] Thorny- 
croft for a model of a head which the sculptor wished to 
make* At home he heard that two single-page songs in 
manuscript which he had sent to the Red Cross Sale at 
Christie's had fetched 48 "Men who March Away", 
and "The Night of Trafalgar ". 

"May 14. Have been reading a review of Henry James.. 

74-77 WAR EFFORTS 169 

It is remarkable that a writer who has no grain of poetry, 
or humour, or spontaneity in his productions, can yet be 
a good novelist. Meredith has some poetry, and yet I can 
read James when I cannot look at Meredith.'* 

"May 27. 'Georgian Poets'. It is a pity that these 
promising young writers adopted such a title* The use of 
it lacks the modesty of true genius, as it confuses the 
poetic chronology, and implies that the hitherto recog- 
nized original Georgians Shelley, Keats, Wordsworth, 
Byron, etc., are negligible ; or at any rate says that they 
do not care whether it implies such or no/' 

" June 10. Motored with F. to Bridport, Lyme, Exeter, 
and Torquay. Called on Mr. and Mrs. Eden Phillpotts. 
Saw their garden and beautiful flowers. Then back to 
Teignmouth, Dawlish, and Exeter, putting up at the 
'Clarence' opposite the Cathedral." 

"June ii. To Cathedral then home via Honiton, 
Chard, Crewkerne/* 

In July they were in London on a visit to Lady St. 
Helier, and paid a long promised call on Sir Frederick and 
Lady Treves in Richmond Park. Later on in the month 
he was at the funeral at Stinsford of a suddenly lost friend, 
Mr. Douglas Thornton the banker, and received visits 
from Sir Henry Hoare, who motored over from Stourhead, 
and Professor Flinders Petrie, whom he had known but 
not seen for many years. 

In August he learnt of the loss of his second cousin's 
son, Lieutenant George, who had been killed that month 
in Gallipoli during a brave advance. Hardy makes this 
note of him : 

"Frank George, though so remotely related, is the first 
one of my family to be killed in battle for the last hundred 
years, so far as I know. He might say Militavi non sine 
gloria short as his career has been/' 

In the autumn Hardy sometimes, and his wife continu- 

170 "MOMENTS OF VISION" 1915-17 

ally, assisted in the evenings at the soldiers' tea-room 
established in the Dorchester Corn Exchange ; they visited 
the Australian Camp near Weymouth, and spent two or 
three days at Melbury House, On returning he learnt 
that his elder sister was again seriously ill. She died the 
same week., at his brother's house at Talbothays. The 
two poems, "Logs on the Hearth" and "In the Garden", 
in Moments of Vision^ evidently refer to her, as also the 
Fourth person in " Looking Across", in the same volume. 

The hobby of her life had been portrait-painting, and 
she had shown great aptitude in catching a likeness, partic- 
ularly of her relations, her picture of her mother in oils 
bearing a striking resemblance to the striking original. 
But she had been doomed to school- teaching, and organ- 
playing in this or that village church during all her active 
years, and hence was unable to devote sufficient time to 
pictorial art till leisure was too late to be effective. Her 
character was a somewhat unusual one, being remarkably 
unassertive, even when she was in the right, and could 
easily have proved it ; so that the point of the following 
remark about her is manifest : 

"November 29. Buried her under the yew-tree where 
the rest of us lie. As Mr. Cowley read the words of the 
psalm 'Dixi Custodiam* they reminded me strongly of 
her nature, particularly when she was young : ' I held my 
tongue and spake nothing : I kept silence, yea, even from 
good words/ That was my poor Mary exactly. She never 
defended herself; and that not from timidity, but indiffer- 
ence to opinion." 

The funeral day had been cold and wet, and Hardy 
was laid up till the end of the year with a violent bronchi- 
tis and racking cough. Nevertheless, during December, 
in response to a request from Winchester House for a 
contribution to a "Pro-Ally Film" of paragraphs in fac- 
simile from authors* writings, which was "to be exhibited 
throughout the world and make its appeal particularly 

AST. 74-77 WAR EFFORTS 171 

to the neutral nations ", he was able to send the following 
passages from Pitt's actual speech in the House of Com- 
mons a hundred years earlier,, as closely paraphrased in 
The Dynasts: 


The strange fatality that haunts the times 
Wherein our lot is cast, has no example ; 
Times are they fraught with peril, trouble, gloom ; 
We have to mark their lourings and to face them. 


Unprecedented and magnificent 
As were our strivings in the previous wars, 
Our efforts in the present shall transcend them, 
As men will learn. 

In January of the next year (1916) a war-ballad] of 
some weirdness, called "The Dead and the Living One", 
which had been written several months before, was pub- 
lished in The Sphere and the New York World y and later 
reprinted in Moments of Vision. 

In February he was again confined to his room with a 
cold, the previous one never having quite gone off. But he 
managed to send to the Red Cross Sale for this year, not 
any work of his own, but "A Sheaf of Victorian Letters", 
written to T. H. by many other writers, nearly all deceased, 
and of a very interesting kind. Mrs. Hardy also sent to 
the same sale three short MSS. of his: "The Oxen", 
"The Breaking of Nations ", and a fragment of a story 
the whole fetching 72 : los. 

A Book of Homage to Shakespeare was printed in April, 
for which Hardy had written a piece entitled "To Shake- 
speare after three hundred years ", afterwards included in 
the volume called Moments of Vision. 

In June he served again as Grand Juror at the Assizes, 

and was at a rehearsal in Dorchester of Wessex Scenes 

from The Dynasts. This, made by "The Hardy Players", 


was quite a different selection from that of Mr. Granville- 
Barker, embracing scenes of a local character only, from 
which could be gathered in echoes of drum and trumpet 
and alarming rumours, the great events going on else- 
where. Though more limited in scope than the former, it 
was picturesque and effective as performed by the local 
actors at the Weymouth Pavilion a fortnight later, and 
was well appreciated by the London press. 

In the same month of June he paid a visit with his wife 
and remaining sister to a house he had never entered for 
forty years. This was Riverside Villa, Sturminster New- 
ton t he first he had furnished after his first marriage, 
and in which he had written The Return of the Native. He 
found it much as it had been in the former years ; and it 
was possibly this visit which suggested the poems about 
Sturminster that were published in Moments of Vision. 
Motorings to Melbury again, to Swanage, and again to 
Bridport, passed the midsummer days. 

" July 27. Times Literary Supplement on 'What is 
Militarism ? * The article suggests a term to express the 
cause of the present war, 'hypochondria' (in the Prus- 
sians), I should rather have said ' apprehensiveness* . The 
term would fit some of the facts like a glove.'' 

In September they set out by train for Cornwall, break- 
ing the journey at Launceston. Thence they went on to 
Camelford, Boscastle, and St. Juliot, to see if Hardy's de- 
sign and inscription for the tablet in the church had been 
properly carried out and erected. At Tintagel they met 
quite by accident Hardy's friends, the Stuart-Wortleys, 
which made their sojourn at that romantic spot a very 
pleasant one. 

" September 10. Sunday. To Tintagel Church. We sat 
down in a seat bordering the passage to the transept, but 
the vicar appalled us by coming to us in his surplice and 
saying we were in the way of the choir who would have to 
pass there. He banished us to the back of the transept. 

74-77 WAR EFFORTS 173 

However, when he began his sermon we walked out. He 
thought It was done to be even with him, and looked his 
indignation ; but it was really because we could not see the 
nave lengthwise, which my wife, Emma, had sketched in 
watercolours when she was a young woman before it was 
* restored', so that I was interested in noting the changes, 
as also was F,, who was familiar with the sketch. It was 
saddening enough, though doubtless only a chance, that 
we were inhospitably received in a church so much visited 
and appreciated by one we both had known so well. The 
matter was somewhat mended, however, by their singing 
the beautiful 34th Psalm to Smart's fine tune, * Wiltshire '. 
By the by, that the most poetical verse of that psalm is 
omitted from it in Hymns Ancient and Modern shows the 
usual ineptness of hymn selectors. We always sang it at 
Stinsford. But then, we sang there in the good old High- 
and Dry Church way straight from the New Version/* 

Multifarious matters filled up the autumn among 
others a visit to the large camp of some 5000 German 
prisoners in Dorchester; also visits to the English wounded 
in hospital, which conjunction led him to say : 

"At the German prisoners 5 camp, including the hos- 
pital, operating-room, etc., were many sufferers. One 
Prussian, in much pain, died whilst I was with him to 
my great relief, and his own. Men lie helpless here from 
wounds : in the hospital a hundred yards off other men, 
English, lie helpless from wounds each scene of suffering 
caused by the other ! 

"These German prisoners seem to think that we are 
fighting to exterminate Germany, and though it has been 
said that, so far from it, we are fighting to save what is 
best in Germany, Cabinet ministers do not in my opinion 
speak this out clearly enough.'* 

In October the Selected Poems of Thomas Hardy were 
published in Macmillan's Golden Treasury Series, a little 


book that received some very good reviews ; and in De- 
cember the Wessex Scenes from The Dynasts, which had 
been produced earlier at Weymouth, were performed at 
Dorchester. Some of Hardy's friends, including Sir James 
Barrie and Mr. Sydney Cockerell, came to see the piece, 
but Hardy could not accompany them, being kept in bed 
by another cold. The performances were for Red Cross 

"January i, 1917. Am scarcely conscious of New 
Year's Day." 

"January 6. I find I wrote in 1888 that 'Art is con- 
cerned with seemings only', which is true." 

To the Secretary of the Royal Society oj Literature. 

"February 8, 1917. 


" I regret that as I live in a remote part of the country 
I cannot attend the meeting of the Entente Committee. 

"In respect of the Memorandum proposing certain 
basic principles of international education for promoting 
ethical ideals that shall conduce to a League of Peace, I 
am in hearty agreement with the proposition. 

"I would say in considering a modus operandi: 

"That nothing effectual will be accomplished in the 
cause of Peace till the sentiment of Patriotism be freed 
from the narrow meaning attaching to it in the past (still 
upheld by Junkers and Jingoists) and be extended to the 
whole globe. 

"On theotherhand, thatthesentimentof.Pom^^^j' 
if the sense of a contrast be really rhetorically necessary 
attach only to other planets and their inhabitants, if any. 

"I may add that I have been writing in advocacy of 
those views for the last twenty years/' 

AET. 74-77 WAR EFFORTS 175 

To Dr. L. Litwinski* 

"March 7, 1917. 

"I feel much honoured by your request that I should 
be a member of the Committee for commemorating two 
such writers of distinction as Verhaeren and Sienkiewicz. 
But for reasons of increasing years and my living so far 
from London I have latterly been compelled to give up 
membership with several associations ; and I am there- 
fore sorry to say that I must refrain from joining any new 
committee in which I should be unable actively to support 
the cause, even when so worthy as the present one/' 

In this March also a sonnet by him named "A Call to 
National Service " was printed in the newspapers. An 
article in the April Fortnightly by Mr. Courtney, the edi- 
tor, on Hardy's writings, especially The Dynasts y interested 
him not only by its appreciativeness, but also by the 
aspect some features of the drama assumed in the re- 
viewer's mind : 

"Like so many critics, Mr. Courtney treats my works 
of art as if they were a scientific system of philosophy, 
although I have repeatedly stated in prefaces and else- 
where that the views in them are seemings, provisional im- 
pressions only, used for artistic purposes because they 
represent approximately the impressions of the age, and 
are plausible, till somebody produces better theories of 
the universe. 

"As to his winding up about a God of Mercy, etc. 
if I wished to make a smart retort, which I really should 
hate doing, I might say that the Good-God theory having, 
after some thousands of years of trial, produced the pres- 
ent infamous and disgraceful state of Europe that most 
Christian Continent ! a theory of a Goodless-and-Bad- 
less God (as in The Dynasts} might perhaps be given a 
trial with advantage. 

176 "MOMENTS OF VISION" 1915-17 

*"Much confusion has arisen and much nonsense has 
been talked latterly in connection with the word 'atheist'. 
I have never understood how anybody can be one except 
in the sense of disbelieving in a tribal god, man-shaped, 
fiery-faced and tyrannous^ who flies into a rage on the 
slightest provocation ; or^as (according to Horace Wai- 
pole) Sir Francis Dashwood defined the Providence be- 
lieved in by the Lord Shrewsbury of that date to be a 
figure like an old angry man in a blue cloak. . , . 0?ifty 
meanings attach to the word 'God' nowadays, the only 
reasonable meaning being the Cause of Things, whatever 
that cause may be.^Thus no modern thinker can be an 
atheist in the modem sense, while all modern thinkers are 
atheists in the ancient and exploded sense.'Ji 

^n this connection he said once perhaps oftener 
that although invidious critics had cast slurs upon him as 
Nonconformist, Agnostic, Atheist, Infidel, Immoralist, 
Heretic, Pessimist, or something else equally opprobrious 
in their eyes, they had never thought of calling him what 
they might have called him much more plausibly 
churchy ; not in an intellectual sense, but in so far as in- 
stincts and emotions ruledj As a child, to be a parson had 
been his dream; moreover, he had had several clerical 
relatives who held livings ; while his grandfather, father, 
uncle, brother, wife, cousin, and two sisters had been 
musicians in various churches over a period covering 
altogether more than a hundred years. He himself had 
frequently read the church lessons, and had at one time 
as a young man begun reading for Cambridge with a 
view to taking Orders. 

His vision had often been that of so many people 
brought up under Church of England influences, a giving 
of liturgical form to modern ideas, and expressing them 
in the same old buildings that had already seen previous 

1 In another place he says "Cause" means really but the "invariable 

AET. 74-77 WAR EFFORTS 177 

reforms successfully carried out. He would say to his 
friends, the Warden of Keble, Arthur Benson, and others, 
that if the bishops only had a little courage, and would 
modify the liturgy by dropping preternatural assumptions 
out of it, few churchgoers would object to the change for 
long, and congregations would be trebled in a brief time. 
The idea was clearly expressed in the "Apology " prefixed 
to Late Lyrics and Earlier. 

"June 9. It is now the time of long days, when the sun 
seems reluctant to take leave of the trees at evening the 
shine climbing up the trunks, reappearing higher, and 
still fondly grasping the tree- tops till long after." 

Later in the month his friend J. M. Barrie suggested 
that Hardy should go with him to France^ to which 

proposal Hardy replied : 


"23 June 1917. 

"It was so kind of you to concoct that scheme for my 
accompanying you to the Front or Back in France. I 
thought it over carefully, as it was an attractive idea. But 
I have had to come to the conclusion that old men cannot 
be young men, and that I must content myself with the 
past battles of our country if I want to feel military. If I 
had been ten years younger I would have gone. 

"I hope you will have a pleasant, or rather, impressive, 
time, and the good company you will be in will be helpful 
all round. I am living in hope of seeing you on the date 
my wife has fixed and of renewing acquaintance with my 
old friend Adelphi Terrace. 

"Always sincerely yours, 


In July his poem "Then and Now" was printed in The 
Times y and in the latter half of the month he and his wife 
paid a visit of two days to J. M. Barrie at Adelphi Terrace 


a spot with which Hardy had had years of familiarity 
when their entertainer was still a child, and which was 
attractive to him on that account. Here they had some 
interesting meetings with other writers. Upon one memo- 
rable evening they sat in a large empty room > which was 
afterwards to be Sir James's study but was then being 
altered and decorated. From the windows they had a fine 
view over the Thames, and searchlights wheeled across 
the sky. The only illumination within the room was from 
candles placed on the floor to avoid breaking war regula- 
tions, which forbade too bright lighting. 

He came back to pack up in August his MS. of Moments 
of Vision and send to the Messrs. Macmillan. 

In October he went with Mrs. Hardy to Plymouth, call- 
ing for a day or two upon Mr. and Mrs. Eden Phillpotts 
at Torquay on their way. But the weather being wet at 
Plymouth they abandoned their stay there and came home. 
"I hold that the mission of poetry is to record impres- 
sions, not convictions. Wordsworth in his later writings 
fell into the error of recording the latter. So also did 
Tennyson, and so do many other poets when they grow 
old. Absit omen ! 

"I fear I have always been considered the Dark Horse 
of contemporary English literature. 

"I was quick to bloom ; late to ripen. 
"I believe it would be said by people who knew me 
well that I have a faculty (possibly not uncommon) for 
burying an emotion in my heart or brain for forty years, 
and exhuming it at the end of that time as fresh as when 
interred. For instance, the poem entitled 'The Breaking 
of Nations' contains a feeling that moved me in 1870, 
during the Franco-Prussian war, when I chanced to be 
looking at such an agricultural incident in Cornwall. But 
I did not write the verses till during the war with Ger- 
many of 1914, and onwards. Query : where was that 
sentiment hiding itself during more than forty years ?" 

AET. 74-77 WAR EFFORTS 179 

Hardy's mind seems to have been running on himself 
at this time to a degree quite unusual with him, who often 
said and his actions showed it that he took no interest 
in himself as a personage. 

"November 13. I was a child till I was 16 ; a youth till 
I was 25 ; a young man till I was 40 or 50." 

The above note on his being considered a Dark Horse 
was apt enough, when it is known that none of the society 
men who met him suspected from his simple manner the 
potentialities of observation that were in him. This un- 
assertive air, unconsciously worn, served him as an in- 
visible coat almost to uncanniness. At houses and clubs 
where he encountered other writers and critics and world- 
practised readers of character, whose bearing towards 
him was often as towards one who did not reach their alti- 
tudes, he was seeing through them as though they were 
glass. He set down some cutting and satirical notes on 
their qualities and compass, but destroyed all of them, not 
wishing to leave behind him anything which could be 
deemed a gratuitous belittling of others. 

This month Moments of Vision and Miscellaneous 
Verses was published, and it may have been his occupation 
with the proofs that had set him thinking of himself ; and 
also caused him to make the following entry: " I do not 
expect much notice will be taken of these poems : they 
mortify the human sense of self-importance by showing, 
or suggesting, that human beings are of no matter or 
appreciable value in this nonchalant universe/- He sub- 
joined the Dedication of Sordello y where the author re- 
marks : " My own faults of expression are many ; but with 
care for a man or book such would be surmounted, and 
without it what avails the faultlessness of either ?" 

It was in this mood that he read such reviews of the 
book as were sent him. 
^ "December 31. New Year's Eve. Went to bed at eleven. 

i8o "MOMENTS OF VISION" 1915-17 

East wind. No bells heard. Slept in the New Year, as did 
also those 'out there'." 

This refers to the poem called "Looking Across" pub- 
lished in the new volume, Stinsford Churchyard lying 
across the mead from Max Gate. 



1918: Aet. 77-78 

ON January 2 Hardy attended a performance of the 
women land- workers in the Corn Exchange. "Met there 
Mrs. Alfred Lyttelton, Lady Shaftesbury, and other 
supporters of the movement. The girls looked most 
picturesque in their.raiment of emancipation, which they 
evidently enjoyed wearing." 

Meanwhile the shadows lengthened. In the second 
week of the month he lost his warm-hearted neighbour, 
Mrs. A. Brinsley Sheridan, nee Motley., of Frampton 
Court. "An old friend of thirty-two years' standing. 
She was, I believe, the first to call when we entered this 
house at Max Gate, and she remained staunch to the end 
of her days." 

"January 16. As to reviewing. Apart from a few 
brilliant exceptions, poetry is not at bottom criticized as 
such, that is, as a particular man's artistic interpretation 
of life, but with a secret eye on its theological and politi- 
cal propriety. Swinburne used to say to me that so it 
would be two thousand years hence ; but I doubt it. 

"As to pessimism. My motto is, first correctly diag- 
nose the complaint in this case human ills and ascer- 
tain the cause : then set about finding a remedy if one 
exists. The motto or practice of the optimists is : Blind 
the eyes to the real malady, and use empirical panaceas 
to suppress the symptoms. 


184 LIFE'S DECLINE 1918 

"Browning said (in a line cited against me so often) : 
Never dreamed though right were worsted wrong would triumph. 

"Well, that was a lucky dreamlessness for Browning. 
It kept him comfortably unaware of those millions who 
cry with the Chorus in Hellas: 'Victorious Wrong, with 
vulture scream, Salutes the rising sun ! ?1 or with Hyllus 
intheTrachimae; 'Markthe vast injustice of the gods F" 2 

"January 24. It is the unwilling mind that stultifies 
the contemporary criticism of poetry." 

"January 25. The reviewer so often supposes that 
where Art is not visible it is unknown to the poet under 
criticism. Why does he not think of the art of concealing 
art ? There is a good reason why/' 

"January 30. English writers who endeavour to 
appraise poets, and discriminate the sheep from the goats, 
are apt to consider that all true poets must be of one 
pattern in their lives and developments. But the glory of 
poetry lies in its largeness, admitting among its creators 
men of infinite variety. They must all be impractical in 
the conduct of their affairs ; nay, they must almost, like 
Shelley or Marlowe, be drowned or done to death, or like 
Keats, die of consumption. They forget that in the ancient 
world no such necessity was recognized ; that Homer sang 
as a blind old man, that Aeschylus wrote his best up to 
his death at nearly seventy, that the best of Sophocles 
appeared between his fifty-fifth and ninetieth years, that 
Euripides wrote up to seventy. 

"Among those who accomplished late, the poetic 
spark must always have been latent ; but its outspringing 
may have been frozen and delayed for half a lifetime/' 

"January 31. Performance of The Mellstock Quire at 
the Corn Exchange, Dorchester, by the local Company 
for Hospital purposes. Arranged for the admission of the 

1 Shelley's Hellas > line 940. 2 Sophocles' Trachiniae, 1266. 


present 'Mellstock' Quire to see the resuscitated ghosts of 
their predecessors/' 

The romantic name of " Little Hintock" in The Wood- 
landers was advanced to a practical application in the 
February of this year by a request from Mr. Dampier 
Whetham, once Fellow and Tutor of Trinity College, 
Cambridge, whose hobby when in his Dorset home was 
dairy farming, to be allowed to define as the "Hintock" 
herd, the fine breed of pedigree cattle he was establishing 
in the district which Hardy had described under that 
fictitious name. 

In a United States periodical for March it was stated 
that "Thomas Hardy is a realistic novelist who . . . has 
a grim determination to go down to posterity wearing the 
laurels of a poet". This writer was a glaring illustration of 
the danger of reading motives into actions. Of course there 
was no "grim determination", no thought of "laurels". 
Thomas Hardy was always a person with an unconscious, 
or rather unreasoning, tendency ', and the poetic tendency 
had been his from the earliest. He would tell that it used 
to be said to him at Sir Arthur Blomfield's : "Hardy, there 
can hardly have been anybody in the world with less am- 
bition than you." At this time the real state of his mind 
was, in his own words, that "A sense of the truth of poe- 
try, of its supreme place in literature, had awakened itself 
in me. At the risk of ruining all my worldly prospects 
I dabbled in it . . . was forced out of it. . . . It came 
back upon me. . . . All was of the nature of being led by 
a mood, without foresight, or regard to whither it led." 

To Professor D. A. Robertson^ University of Chicago. 

"February yth, 1918 

"In reply to your inquiry if I am likely to visit the 

1 86 LIFE'S DECLINE 1918 

United States after the war, 1 am sorry to say that such 
an event is highly improbable. . . . 

"The opinion you quote from Lord Bryce to the effect 
that Americans do not think internationally, leads one to 
ask. Does any country think internationally ? I should 
say, none. But there can be no doubt that some countries 
think thus more nearly than others ; and in my opinion 
the people of America far more than the people of 

In April there was sold at Christie's Red Cross Sale 
the manuscript of Far from the Madding Crowd. The 
interest of the latter at least to Hardy himself lay in 
the fact of it being a revenant that for forty years he 
had had no other idea but that the manuscript had been 
"pulped" after its use in the Cornhitt Magazine in 1874, 
since it had completely disappeared, not having been sent 
back with the proofs. Hardy's rather whimsical regret 
was that he had not written it on better paper, unforesee- 
ing the preservation. It afterwards came to his knowledge 
that after the sale it went to America, and ultimately was 
bought of a New York dealer for the collection of Mr. 
A. E. Newton of Pennsylvania. 

"April 30. By the will of God some men are born 
poetical. Of these some make themselves practical poets, 
others are made poets by lapse of time who were hardly 
recognized as such. Particularly has this been the case 
with the translators of the Bible. They translated into 
the language of their age ; then the years began to corrupt 
that language as spoken, and to add grey lichen to the 
translation; until the moderns who use the corrupted 
tongue marvel at the poetry of the old words. When new 
they were not more than half so poetical. So that Cover- 
dale, Tyndale, and the rest of them are as ghosts what 
they never were in flesh." 

"May 8. A letter from Sir George Douglas carries me 


back to Wimborne and the time when his brother Frank 
lived opposite us there in the Avenue : 

They are great trees, no doubt, by now. 
That were so thin in bough 

That row of limes 

When we housed there; I'm loth to reckon when; 
The world has turned so many times, 
So many, since then !" 

Whether any more of this poem was written is not 

Two days later Hardy was seized with a violent cough 
and cold which confined him for a week. However, he was 
well enough by the 23rd to adjudicate at the Police Court 
on several food-profiteering cases, undertaken as being 
"the only war-work I was capable of", and to receive 
some old friends, including Sydney Cockerell, John 
Powys, Lady Ilchester, and her mother, Lady London- 
derry, of whom he says : "Never saw her again : I had 
known her for more than twenty-five years/' A little later 
came Mrs. Henry Allhusen, whom he had known from her 
childhood, Sir Frederick Treves, and Mr. and Mrs. Rosa- 
lind Hyndman (a charming woman) who were staying at 
Dorchester for the benefit of the air. 

Some sense of the neglect of poetry by the modern 
English may have led him to write at this time : 

"The poet is like one who enters and mounts a plat- 
form to give an address as announced. He opens his page, 
looks around, and finds the hall empty " 

A little later he says : 

"It bridges over the years to think that Gray might 
have seen Wordsworth in his cradle, and Wordsworth 
might have seen me in mine." 

Some days later : 

"The people in Shakespeare act as if they were not 
quite closely thinking of what they are doing, but were 

i88 LIFE'S DECLINE 1918 

great philosophers giving the main of their mind to the 
general human situation. 

"I agree with Tennyson 3 who said he could form no 
idea how Shakespeare came to write his plays. 

" My opinion is that a poet should express the emotion 
of all the ages and the thought of his own." 


1918-1919: Aet. 78-79 

" Sunday , June 2. Seventy-eighth birthday. Several 
letters/' Among others was an interesting one from a lady 
who informed him that some years earlier she had been 
made the happiest woman in the world by accidentally 
meeting for the first time, by the "Druid Stone" on his 
lawn, at the late Mrs. Hardy's last garden-party, the man 
who was now her husband. And a little later came one he 
much valued, from a man he long had known Mr. 
Charles Moule, Senior Fellow and President of Corpus, 
Cambridge, enclosing a charming poem to Hardy as his 
" almost lifelong friend . . . Too seldom seen since far- 
off times" times when the two had visited mediaeval 
buildings together, and dived from a boat on summer 
mornings into the green water of Weymouth Bay. 

In September 1918 he received a circular letter asking 
him to assist in bringing home to people certain facts re- 
lating to the future with a view to finding a remedy, and 
stating that, "It is agreed by all students of modern mili- 
tary methods that this war, horrible as it seems to us, is 
merciful in comparison with what future wars must be. 
Scientific munition-making is only in its infancy. The 
next world-war, if there is another, will find the nations 
provided not with thousands, but with hundreds of thou- 
sands of submarines, and all these as far surpassing the 
present types in power and destructiveness as they sur- 
pass the feeble beginnings of ten years ago* . . ." 



In his reply he remarked : 

"If it be all true that the letter prophesies, I do not 
think a world in which such fiendishness is possible to be 
worth the saving. Better let Western * civilization ' perish, 
and the black and yellow races have a chance. 

"However, as a meliorist (not a pessimist as they say) 
I think better of the world/' 

"December 31. New Year's Eve. Did not sit up. 
At the beginning of the year 1919 Hardy received a 
letter and volume of verses from Miss Amy Lowell, the 
American poetess, who reminded him of her call at the 
beginning of the war "two bedraggled ladies", herself 
and her friend. Hardy did remember, and their conster- 
nation lest they should not be able to get back to their 
own country. 

In February he signed a declaration of sympathy with 

the Jews in support of a movement for " the reconstitution 

of Palestine as a National Home for the Jewish People", 

and during the spring he received letters from Quiller- 

Couch, Crichton-Browne, and other friends on near and 

dear relatives they had lost in the war ; about the same 

time there appeared a relevant poem by Hardy in The 

Athenaum which was much liked, entitled in words from 

the Burial Service, "According to the Mighty Working". 

In May Edmund Gosse wrote that he was very curious 

to know who drew the rather unusual illustration on the 

cover of the first edition of The Trumpet-Major. Hardy 

was blank on the matter for a time, until, finding a copy, 

he remembered that he drew it himself. 

Being in London for a few days the same month he 
went to the dinner of the Royal Academy the first held 
since the war with his friend J. M. Barrie, with whom 
he was then staying, and was saddened to find how many 
of the guests and Academicians that he had been formerly 
accustomed to meet there, had disappeared from the scene. 
He felt that he did not wish to go again, and, indeed, he 


never did. Among the incidents of this visit was a meet- 
ing at Lady St. Helier's with Dr. Bernard, Archbishop of 
Dublin, and a discussion with him on Coverdale's trans- 
lation of the Psalms, and the inferiority of the Latin Vul- 
gate in certain passages of them, with which Dr. Bernard 
agreed, sending him afterwards the two versions in 
parallel readings. 

On his birthday in June he did what he had long in- 
tended to do took his wife and sister to Salisbury by the 
old road which had been travelled by his and their fore- 
fathers in their journeys to London via Blandford, 
Woodyates Inn, and Harnham Hill, whence Constable had 
painted his famous view of the cathedral, and where the 
track was still accessible to wheels. Woodyates Inn now 
no longer such, to the surprise of everybody since the re- 
vival of road traffic still retained its genial hostelry ap- 
pearance, and reminded Hardy of the entry in the diary 
of one of the daughters of George the Third after she and 
the rest of the family had halted there : "At Woodyates 
Inn. . .had a beastly breakfast." It is said that Browning's 
great-grandfather was oncethelandlordof this famous inn. 

In a reply to a letter of this date concerning a new 
literary periodical started in Canada, he adds, after some 
commendatory remarks : 

" But why does the paper stultify its earlier articles by 
advertising "The Best Sellers' ? Of all marks of the un~ 
literary journal this is the clearest. If the Canadian Book- 
man were to take a new line and advertise eulogistically 
the worst sellers, it might do something towards its obj ect." 

Replying to a birthday letter from Mrs. Arthur Hen- 
niker, Hardy writes : 

"MAX GATE, 5 June 1919. 

" Sincere thanks for your good wishes, my dear friend, 
which I echo back towards you. I should care more for my 
birthdays if at each succeeding one I could see any sign of 

i 9 2 LIFE'S DECLINE 1918-19 

real improvement in the world as at one time I fondly 
hoped there was ; but I fear that what appears much more 
evident is that it is getting worse and worse. All develop- 
ment is of a material and scientific kind and scarcely 
any addition to our knowledge is applied to objects philan- 
thropic and ameliorative. I almost think that people were 
less pitiless towards their fellow-creatures human and 
animal under the Roman Empire than they are now ; 
so why does not Christianity throw up the sponge and 
say, I am beaten, and let another religion take its 
place ? 

"I suddenly remember that we had a call from our 
Bishop and his wife two or three days ago, so that perhaps 
it is rather shabby of me to write as above. By a curi- 
ous coincidence we had motored to Salisbury that very 
day, and were in his cathedral when he was at our 

"Do you mean to go to London for any length of time 
this summer ? We are not going again till I don't know 
when. We squeezed a good deal into the four days we 
were there, and I got a bad throat as usual, but it has 
gone off. At Lady St. Helier's we met the Archbishop of 
Dublin (English Church^) and found him a pleasant man. 
We also met several young poets at Barrie's, where we 
were staying, 

"We do hope you are well in 'rude health' as they 
call it. Florence sends her love, and I am, 
"Ever affectionately, 

"TH. H." 

Shortly after his birthday he received a charming 
volume of holograph poems, beautifully bound, from some 
forty or fifty living poets. The mark of recognition so 
appealed to him that he determined to answer every one 
oif the contributors by letter, and ultimately did so, though 
it took him a long while ; saying that if they could take 




the trouble to write the poems he could certainly take the 
trouble to write the letters. It was almost his first awaken- 
ing to the consciousness that an opinion had silently 
grown up as it were in the night, that he was no mean 
power in the contemporary world of poetry. 

This "Poets' Tribute" had been arranged by his 
friend Siegfried Sassoon, who brought the gift and placed 
it in Hardy's hand. 

It had impressed him all the more as coming just after 
his reading quite by chance in an Australian paper a 
quotation from a recent English review of his verse be- 
littling one of the poems that called "On Sturminster 
Foot Bridge" in a manner that showed the critic to be 
quite unaware of what was called "onomatopoeia" in 
poetry, the principle on which the lines had been com- 
posed. They were intended to convey by their rhythm 
the impression of a clucking of ripples into riverside holes 
when blown upon by an up-stream wind ; so that when his 
reviewer jested on the syllables of the verse sounding like 
milk in a cart he was simply stating that the author had 
succeeded in doing what he had tried to do the sounds 
being similar. As the jest by the English review had come 
back to England from Australia, where it had been quoted 
to Hardy's damage without the context, he took the 
trouble to explain the matter to the writer of the article, 
which he would probably have left undone if it had not so 
frequently happened that his intentions were shown up as 
blunders. But he did not get a more satisfactory reply 
than that the critics, like the writer, were sheep in wolves ? ' 
clothing, and meant no harm. 

Hardy's loyalty to his friends was shown by his de- 
votion to the Moule family, members of which he had 
known intimately when he was a young man. The follow- 
ing is probably the last letter he wrote to one whom he 
could remember as a small boy : 

i 94 LIFE'S DECLINE i 9 ig-i 9 

"29 June 1919. 

"You may agree with me in thinking it a curious coin- 
cidence that the evening before your letter arrived, and 
when it probably was just posted, we were reading a chap- 
ter in Job, and on coming to the verse, 'All the days of 
my appointed time will I wait, till my change come', I 
interrupted and said : *That was the text of the Vicar of 
Fordington one Sunday evening about i86o\ And I can 
hear his voice repeating the text as the sermon went on 
in the way they used to repeat it in those days just as if 
it were yesterday. I wonder if you have ever preached 
from that text ; I daresay you have. I should add that he 
delivered his discourse without note of any kind. 

"My warm thanks for your good feeling about my 
birthday. The thoughts of friends about one at these times 
take off some of the sadness they bring as one gets old. 

"The study of your father's life (too short, really) has 
interested me much. I well remember the cholera years in 
Fordington; you might have added many details. For 
instance, every morning a man used to wheel the clothing 
and bed-linen of those who had died in the night out into 
the mead, where the Vicar had a large copper set. Some 
was boiled there, and some burnt. He also had large fires 
kindled in Mill Street to carry off infection. An excellent 
plan I should think. 

"Many thanks, too, for the volume of poems which 
duly came. "Apollo at Pherae" seems to me remarkably 
well constructed in 'plot', and the verse facile: I don't 
quite know how you could have acquired such readiness 
at such an early date, and the influence of Milton is not 
excessive at least I think not. 

"I hope you will let us know when you come this way 

August, The Collected edition of Hardy's poems was 


published about this time in two volumes, the first con- 
taining the shorter poems, and the second The Dynasts. 

October. A curious question arose in Hardy's mind at 
this date on whether a romancer was morally justified in 
going to extreme lengths of assurance after the manner 
of Defoe in respect of a tale he knew to be absolutely 
false. Thirty-seven years earlier, when much pressed to 
produce something of the nature of a fireside yarn, he 
had invented a picturesque account of a stealthy noctur- 
nal visit to England by Napoleon in 1804, during the war, 
to spy out a good spot for invasion. Being struck with 
the extreme improbability of such a story, he added a 
circumstantial framework describing it as an old local 
tradition to blind the reader to the hoax. When it was pub- 
lished he was much surprised at people remarking to him : 
" I see you have made use of that well-known tradition of 
Napoleon's landing/' He then supposed that, strange as 
it seemed, such a story must have been in existence with- 
out his knowledge, and that perhaps the event had hap- 
pened. So the matter rested till the time at which we have 
arrived, when a friend who was interested made inquiries, 
and was assured by historians and annalists whom he con- 
sulted, that such a visit would have been fatuous, and 
wellnigh impossible. Moreover, that there had never 
existed any such improbable tradition. Hence arose 
Hardy's aforesaid case of conscience as to being too 
natural in the art he could practise so well. Had he not 
long discontinued the writing of romances he would, he 
said, have put at the beginning of each new one : "Under- 
stand that however true this book may be in essence, in 
fact it is utterly untrue." 

Being interested in a dramatic case of piracy on the 
high seas, which might have happened a hundred or two 
hundred years before, Hardy and his wife went to the 
October assizes, on the invitation of Mr. Justice Darling, 
and sat through the case. Such sensational trials came to 

196 LIFE'S DECLINE 1918-19 

quiet Dorset whenever the port of landing was in the 
county, even if they happened a thousand miles off. 

On October 30 the following was written at his request : 

"In reply to your letter I write for Mr. Hardy, who is 
in bed with a chill,, to say that he cannot furnish you with 
any biographical details. ... To your inquiry if Jude the 
Obscure is autobiographical, I have to answer that there is 
not a scrap of personal detail in it, it having the least to 
do with his own life of all his books. The rumour, if it still 
persists, was started some years ago. Speaking generally, 
there is more autobiography in a hundred lines of Mr. 
Hardy's poetry than in all the novels." 

It is a tribute to Hardy's powers of presentation that 
readers would not for many years believe that such inci- 
dents as Jude's being smacked when bird-keeping, his 
driving a baker's cart, his working as a journeyman ma- 
son, as also many situations described in verse, were not 
actual transcripts from the writer's personal experience, 
although the briefest reference to biographical date-books 
would have shown the impossibility of any thing of the sort. 

Hardy had been asked this autumn if he would object 
to a representation of some of the scenes in The Dynasts 
by the Oxford University Dramatic Society in the follow- 
ing year, and on his making no objection some correspond- 
ence ensued with the President and Manager on certain 

To Mr. Maurice Colbourne. 

''November n, 1919. 

"Your plan for showing the out- of-doors scenes is very 
ingenious and attractive and more elaborate than I 
imagined, my idea having been just a backcloth coloured 
greyish-blue, and a floorcloth coloured greenish-grey a 
purely conventional representation for all open-air scenes. 
, . . My feeling was the same as yours about the Strophe 
and Antistrophe that they should be unseen, and, as it 


were 3 speaking from the sky. But it is, as you hint, doubtful 
if the two ladies will like to have their charms hidden. 
Would boys do instead, or ugly ladies with good voices ? 
But I do not wish to influence largely your methods of 
presentation. It will be of the greatest interest to me, 
whether I can get to Oxford for the performance or not, 
to see how the questions that arise in doing the thing 
have been grappled with by younger brains than mine." 

"November 18. To my father's grave (he was born 
Nov. 1 8, 1811) with F. (Mrs. Hardy). The funeral psalm 
formerly sung at the graveside to the tune of " St. Stephen " 
was the xc. in Tate and Brady's version. Whether Dr. 
Watts's version, beginning "O God our help in ages past" 
said to be a favourite with Gladstone was written 
before or after T. and B.'s (from Coverdale's prose of the 
same psalm) I don't know, but I think it inferior to the 
other, which contains some good and concise verse, e.g., 

T. and B, : 

For in thy sight a thousand years 

Are like a day that's past, 
Or like a watch at dead of night 

Whose hours unnumbered waste 
Thou sweep'st us off as with a flood, 

We vanish hence like dreams, . , . 

Watts (more diffusely) : 

A thousand ages in thy sight 

Are like an evening gone, 
Short as the watch that ends the night 

Before the rising sun. 
Time like an ever rolling stream 

Bears all its sons away ; 
They fly forgotten as a dream 

Dies at the opening day." 

In December Sir George Douglas writes concerning a 
lecture he is going to give in Edinburgh on Hardy 's poems, 

198 LIFE'S DECLINE 1918-19 

and incidentally remarks: "Those Aeschylean poems in 
The Past and the Present . - . how would Wordsworth 
have regarded them, I wonder, differing so markedly as 
they do from his view of Nature ?" His friend, Sir Fred- 
erick Pollock, also sent a letter containing an impromptu 
scene of a humorous kind : "Overheard at the sign of the 
Mermaid in Elysium", purporting to be a conversation 
between the shades of Shakespeare, Campion, and Heine, 
"on a book newly received " (i.e. Hardy's Collected 
Poems) in which Shakespeare says : 

'Twas pretty wit, friend Thomas, that you spoke ; 
You take the measure of my Stratford folk, 

the lines referring to Hardy's poem, "To Shakespeare 
after three hundred years "- 

In December he opened a village war memorial in the 
form of a club-room in Bockhampton. It was close to his 
first school, erected, as has been told, by the manor lady 
of his early affections, and here he danced, for the last 
time in his life, with the then lady of the manor. The 
room was erected almost on the very spot where had 
stood Robert Reason's shoe-making shop when Hardy 
was a boy, described in Under the Greenwood Tree as 
"Mr. Robert Penny's''. 

A speech made by Hardy at the opening of the Bock- 
hampton Reading-room and Club on the 2nd December 
1919 was not reported in any newspaper, but the follow- 
ing extracts from it may be of interest : 

"I feel it an honour and an honour of a very inter- 
esting kind to have been asked by your President to 
open this Club as a memorial to the gallant men of this 
parish who fought in the last great war a parish I know 
so well, and which is only about a mile from my own 

"This room is, it seems, to be called 'The Mellstock 


Club'. I fancy I have heard the name of "Mellstock* 
before. But we will let that pass. . . . 

"The village of Bockhampton has had various owners. 
In the time of the Conqueror it belonged to a Norman 
countess ; later to a French Priory ; and in the time of 
Queen Elizabeth to the Dean and Chapter of Exeter, who 
at the beginning of the last century sold it to Mr. Morton 
Pitt, a cousin of Pitt the Premier. What a series of 
scenes does this bare list of owners bring back ! 

"At one time Bockhampton had a water-mill. Where 
was that mill, I wonder ? It had a wood. Where was that 

" To come to my own recollections. From times imme- 
morial the village contained several old Elizabethan 
houses, with mullioned windows and doors, of Ham Hill 
stone. They stood by the withy bed. I remember seeing 
some of them in process of being pulled down, but some 
were pulled down before I was born. To this attaches a 
story. Mr. Pitt, by whose orders it was done, came to look 
on, and asked one of the men several questions as to why he 
was doing it in such and such a way. Mr. Pitt was notori- 
ous for his shabby clothes, and the labourer, who did not 
know him, said at last, 'Look here, old chap, don't you 
ask so many questions, and just go on. Anybody would 
think the house was yours !' Mr. Pitt obeyed orders, and 
meekly went on, murmuring, 'Well, 'tis mine, after all !' 

"Then there were the Poor-houses, I remember just 
at the corner turning down to the dairy. These were the 
homes of the parish paupers before workhouses were built. 
In one of them lived an old man who was found one day 
rolling on the floor, with a lot of pence and halfpence 
scattered round him. They asked him what was the 
matter, and he said he had heard of people rolling in 
money, and he thought that for once in his life he would 
do it, to see what it was like. 

"Then there used to be dancing parties at Christmas, 

200 LIFE'S DECLINE 1918-19 

and some weeks after. This kind of party was called a 
Jacob's Join, in which every guest contributed a certain 
sum to pay the expenses of the entertainment it was 
mostly half-a-crown in this village. They were very lively 
parties I believe- The curious thing is that the man who 
used to give the house-room for the dances lived in a 
cottage which stood exactly where this Club house stands 
now so that when you dance here you will be simply 
carrying on the tradition of the spot. 

"In conclusion, I have now merely to say I declare 
the Mellstock Club and reading-room to be open/' 

To a correspondent, on December 30, Hardy writes : 
"I am sorry to say that your appeal for a poem that 
should be worthy of the event of the 8th August 1918 
reaches me at too late a time of life to attempt it. ... 
The outline of such a poem, which you very cleverly 
sketch, is striking, and ought to result at the hands of 
somebody or other who may undertake it, in a literary 
parallel to the Battle of Prague a piece of music which 
ceased to be known long before your time, but was extraor- 
dinarily popular in its day reproducing the crashing of 
guns nearer and nearer, the groans of the wounded, and 
the final fulfilment, with great fidelity. 

"The length of the late war exhausted me of all my 
impromptu poems dealing with that tragedy. ... I 
quite think that one of our young poets would rise to the 
occasion if you were to give him the opportunity." 

This year went out quietly with Hardy, as is shown by 
the brief entry : "New Year's Eve. Did not sit up.' 1 



1920: Aet. 79-80 

"January 19* Coming back from Talbothays by West 
Stafford Cross I saw Orion upside down in a pool of water 
under an oak." 

On February a Hardy was invited to receive an Honor- 
ary Degree of Doctor of Letters during the time he was to 
be in Oxford at the performance of The Dynasts at the 
theatre, which he had promised to attend ; and on the gth 
he set out by train for Oxford with Mrs. Hardy, though 
the members of the O.U.D.S. had offered to send a car for 
him all the way. The day was unusually fine for February, 
and they were met at the station by enthusiastic repre- 
sentatives of the society, driven round Oxford, and con- 
ducted to the house of Sir Walter and Lady Raleigh, who 
were their hosts. 

The next day, after lunching with friends, they went 
to the Sheldonian and the degree was received. 

In presenting Hardy, the Public Orator, Mr. A. D. 
Godley, made one of the most felicitous of his many 
excellent speeches. He said : 

"Scilicet ut Virgilio nostro sic huic quoque 'molle 
atque facetum adnuerunt gaudentes rure Camenare'. Hie 
est, qui divini gloriam ruris sicut nemo alius nostrorum 
idylliis suis intertexuit : hie est, qui agricolarum sensus et 

20 1 

202 LIFE'S DECLINE 1920 

colloquia ita vivide verbis effinxit ut videre nisticos con- 
sessus, ut ipsos inter se sermocinantes, cum Iegimus 3 
audire videamur. Obruit multos cita oblivio qui in rebus 
transitoriis versantur : qui insitos animorum sensus et 
naturae humanae immutabilitatem exprimit, cuius scripta 
aeternam silvarum et camporum amoenitatem spirant, 
hunc diu vivum per ora virum volitaturum esse prae- 
dicimus. Quid quod idem in poesi quoque eo evasit ut 
hoc solo scribendi genere, nisi fabularum narratio vel 
magis suum aliquid et proprium habeat, immortalem 
famam assequi possit ?" l 

And then, after a reference to the production that 
evening by the O.U.D.S. of The Dynasts "opus eius 
tarn scriptoris facundia quam rerum quae tractantur 
magnitudine insignitum" 2 he concluded : 

"Nunc ut homini si quis alius Musis et dis agrestibus 
amico titulum debitum dando, non tantum illi quantum 
nobis ipsis decus addatis, duco ad vos senem illustrern 
Thomam Hardy. . . ." 3 

His wife, Evelyn Gifford, and her sister were present 

1 "Surely as with Virgil, so with him, have the Muses that rejoice in the 
countryside, approved his smoothness and elegance. This is he who has 
interwoven in his (pastoral) poems, as no other has done, the (heavenly) 
glory of the (heavenly) countryside : this is he who has portrayed in words 
the feelings and conversations of rustics so clearly that when we read of 
them we seem to picture their meetings and hear them discoursing one 
with another. Speedy forgetfulness overwhelms many who treat of life's 
fleeting things, but of him who unfolds the inborn feelings of man's soul 
and the unchangeableness of his nature, whose writings breathe the eternal 
charm of (the) woods and fields, we foretell that his living fame shall long 
hover on the lips of men. 

"Why now, is not the excellence of his poems such that, by this type 
of writing alone, he can achieve immortal fame, even if the narration of his 
stories has not something about them more peculiarly his own ?" 

2 "His work marked not only by the eloquence of the author, but by the 
magnitude of the events which he describes." 

3 "Now that you may confer distinction, not so much on him as on our 
own selves, by granting a deserved title to one who is a friend of the Muses 
and pastoral gods, I present to you the revered and renowned Thomas 

, 'J/KWMtA i^fyest/fA aaed C 


among others. Evelyn, daughter of the late Archdeacon 
Gifford, was his bright and affectionate cousin by mar- 
riage, whom Hardy was never to see again. Had he known 
it when he was parting from her outside the Sheldonian 
in the rain that afternoon, his heart would have been 
heavier than it was. 

In the afternoon he met the Poet-Laureate (Robert 
Bridges), Mr, Masefield, and many friends at the 
Raleighs', and also at the theatre in the evening, from 
which they did not return till one o'clock the whole day 
having been of a most romantic kind. 

1920 to witness a performance of The Dynasts by the 
Oxford University Dramatic Society, and of a later 
meeting with him in Dorchester when A Desperate 
Remedy was produced there : written in 1929, at Mrs. 
Hardy's request, by Charles Morgan, who in 1920 
was Manager for the O.U.D.S., in 1921 its President, 
and afterwards dramatic critic of The Times. 

When the University reassembled after the war, the 
Oxford University Dramatic Society was in low water. 
The tradition was broken, the surviving membership was 
not more than half a dozen, and the treasury was empty. 
During 1919 new members joined and life began to flicker 
in the Society, but its future largely depended upon the 
success or failure of the first annual play in the new series. 

An undergraduate was instructed to consider, during 
the long vacation of 1919, what play should be performed 
and to report to the Committee. His choice was The Dy- 
nasts , and he had to defend it against those who objected 
that it was not Shakespearian and that Shakespeare was a 
tradition of the Society : and against those more danger- 
ous critics who said that The Dynasts would be costly, 
and, pointing to the balance-sheet, asked whence the 

20 4 LIFE'S DECLINE 1920 

money would come. The financial objection was at last 
overcome by personal guarantees. 

The Committee endorsed the choice, and the Vice- 
Chancellor, whose special consent was needed for the 
performance of so modern a work, allowed it. The 
arguments in its favour were, indeed, unanswerable. 

The Dynasts was unique in literature, an epic-drama 
without predecessor in its own kind. Its writer was a liv- 
ing Englishman : its subject was closely linked with the 
tragedy in which nearly all the players had lately partici- 
pated : and, except for those who had seen Granville-Bark- 
er's production, it would be a new theatrical experience. 

One difficulty remained : the play was copyright, and 
it seemed to us very probable that Hardy would refuse 
permission to perform it. He is an old man, we said, and 
set fast in Dorset ; he will not give a fig for what he will 
call amateur theatricals, nor will he be troubled with our 
affairs. It was the impression of us all that he would be 
forbidding and formidable, and he was approached with 
misgiving. He gave his play to us, not grudgingly nor 
with any air of patronage, but with so gracious a courtesy 
that we were made to feel that he was genuinely pleased 
to find young men eager to perform his work. I do not 
remember the text of his reply to the original request, but 
I remember well the impression made by it an impres- 
sion increased by his later correspondence. Long before 
he came to Oxford his individuality had become estab- 
lished among us. Without whittling away his legend by 
any of the affectations of modesty, he had, by his gentle 
plainness, banished our fear of it. 

Even so, when we invited him and Mrs. Hardy to 
come to Oxford to see the play, we had little hope that he 
would accept, for our ideas had over-estimated his age 
or, rather, under-estimated the vigour of it and his 
withdrawal into Wessex was believed to be permanent. 
But he said he would come, and Sir Walter Raleigh invited 


him to be his guest. So soon as it was known that he 
would visit Oxford, everyone perceived what hitherto few 
had been able to perceive that, in withholding her high- 
est honour from the author of The Dynasts and The Re- 
turn of the Native (perhaps, whispered Cambridge and the 
world, because he was also the author of Jude the Qb- 
scure\ Christminster was making herself ridiculous. A 
D.C.L. was offered him. Authority must have sighed 
with relief when he did not refuse. 

It fell to me to meet him at the station. I give my im- 
pression of him then and afterwards, not because it is of 
value as being mine, but for two reasons first, that Mrs. 
Hardy has asked it ; secondly, that I should dearly love to 
see some great writer of the past as a contemporary under- 
graduate saw him. In days to come, even so slight a record 
as this may have an interest that it cannot now possess. 

Hardy made it easy for a young man to be his host 
made it easy, not by any loose affability of manner or by 
a parade of that heartiness which, in too many celebrated 
men, is a form of patronage, but simply by making no 
attempt whatever to impress or to startle me. I had not 
expected cleverness or volubility in him ; and his speech 
was, at first, slight and pleasantly conventional. He intro- 
duced me to Mrs. Hardy, asked how long the drive would 
be to Sir Walter's, used, in brief, the small talk of en- 
counter, giving me time to become accustomed to his 
presence and to break free of the thought : I must remem- 
ber this ; I shall remember and tell of it when I am an old 
man. He himself seemed to me prodigiously old, not 
because there was any failure in his powers he was, on 
the contrary, sprightly, alert, bird-like but because his 
head had an appearance of being much older than his 
body, his neck having the thinness and his brow the tight- 
ness of great age, and his eyes so old that age itself 
seemed to have swung full circle within them being the 
eyes of some still young man who had been keeping watch 


at sea since the beginning of time. I remember that, sit- 
ting opposite him in the cab, I began to think of the sea 
and to imagine his head appearing above the bridge-lad- 
der of a warship. Then I thought of a bird again, a small 
bird with a great head. And I made another discovery 
that pleased me : in external things he was deeply old- 
fashioned, and, fearing perhaps some assertive, new- 
fangled conduct in an undergraduate, timid and a little 
suspicious. I knew at once that I had nothing to fear from an 
old gentleman who by no means wished to pretend that 
he was young, and would never embarrass me by forsak- 
ing those little formalities of ordinary behaviour to which 
I myself had been trained. 

Thus, because he made no attempt to break it, the ice 
melted easily and naturally. He asked of the play, saying 
that it had not been intended for the stage and that he 
wondered at our having chosen it. 

Then, breaking off from this and reminded, I think, 
by Mrs. Hardy, he said : "We thought we should like to 
make a little tour of Oxford before going out to the 
Raleighs '. I don 't know it well as it is to-day, and Mrs. 
Hardy knows it less/' He knew it, however, well enough 
to have planned a route with precision. We drove slowly, 
stopping now and then when he commanded it, and of 
each place he spoke in a different tone as if some mood 
were connected with it. Jz^was, of course, the inevitable 
thought of one who had read that book in a midshipman's 
hammock when to him also Oxford was a beckoning 
dream. It seemed very strange to be driving solemnly 
down the High and up the Broad with the author of 
Jude. It seemed strange because, after all, it was so 
natural. Here was an old man taking a normal and rea- 
sonable interest in the place where he was quietly "see- 
ing the sights " in the fashion of his own time and without 
the self-consciousness of ours. 

But when we are undergraduates we expect writers to 


be literary men in all things ; we cannot easily dissociate 
them from their works ; and it seemed to me very odd 
that Thomas Hardy should bother about the Martyrs 7 

When the tour was over, we went forward towards our 
destination. Hardy began to ask me about the age of 
undergraduates, and what effect the war had had upon us. 
I told him that my own war service delivered me from one 
examination and from compulsory chapels. " Compulsory 
chapels . . ." said Hardy, and no more ; then, opening a 
little case on the seat beside him and producing from it a 
handful of small volumes, he asked me if I knew what 
they were. "Poems", he said, "written by young men. 
They very kindly send them to me/ 1 Very kindly was 
there irony in that ? But Hardy, reading my thought, dis- 
missed it. He left no doubt that he was glad to have these 
volumes sent to him, seeing in them a tribute to himself as 
a poet, not a novelist and he cared deeply for that. And 
from this there came to me an opportunity to ask a ques- 
tion that I had been afraid to ask : whether he would ever 
write another tale ?" "No", he answered, "I gave it up 
long ago. I wanted to write poetry in the beginning ; now 
I can. Besides, it is so long since I wrote a novel that 
novel readers must have forgotten me." And, when I had 
said something, he added: "No. Much depends on the 
public expectation. If I wrote a story now, they would 
want it to be what the old ones were. Besides, my stories 

are written." 

I have no recollection of any conversation after that, 
nor any picture of Hardy in my mind until, going to 
Dorchester in 1922 to see the Hardy Players perform a 
dramatization of Desperate Remedies, I was invited by 
him to Max Gate, where we sat round the fire after tea 
and he told me of his early days in London, and how he 
would go to Shakespearian plays with the text in his 
hands and, seated in the front row, follow the dialogue by 

ao8 LIFE'S DECLINE 1920 

the stage light. He told me, too, that he had written a 
stage version of Tess, and something of its early history ; 
how, after the success of the novel, the great ones of the 
earth had pressed him to dramatize it ; how he had done 
so, and the play had been prepared for the stage ; by what 
mischance the performance of it had been prevented. 
Where was it now ? 

In a drawer. Would he allow it to be performed ? He 
smiled, gave no answer, and began at once to talk of criti- 
cism first of dramatic criticism which, he said, in the few 
newspapers that took it seriously was better than literary 
criticism, the dramatic critics having less time "to re- 
hearse their prejudices"; then of literary criticism itself 
a subject on which he spoke with a bitterness that sur- 
prised me. The origin of this bitterness was in tlie past 
where, I believe, there was indeed good reason for it, but 
it was directed now against contemporary critics of his 
own work, and I could not understand what general 
reason he had to complain of them. He used no names ; 
he spoke with studied reserve, sadly rather than queru- 
lously; but he was persuaded and there is evidence of this 
persuasion in the preface to the posthumous volume of his 
verse that critics approached his work with an ignorant 
prejudice against his "pessimism" which they allowed to 
stand in the way of fair reading and fair judgement. 

This was a distortion of facts as I knew them. It was 
hard to believe that Hardy honestly thought that his 
genius was not recognized; harder to believe that he 
thought his work was not read. Such a belief indicated 
the only failure of balance, the only refusal to seek the 
truth, which I perceived in Hardy, and I was glad when 
the coming of a visitor, who was, I think, secretary of the 
Society of Dorset Men, led him away from criticism to 
plainer subjects. When the time came for me to go, seeing 
that he proposed to come out with me, I tried to restrain 
him, for the night was cold ; but he was determined, and 


Mrs. Hardy followed her own wise course of matching her 
judgement with his vitality. So he came down among the 
trees to the dark road, and I saw the last of him standing 
outside his gate with a lantern swaying in his hand. I 
shall not know a greater man, not have I ever known one 
who had, in the same degree. Hardy's power of drawing 
reverence towards affection. 

He was not simple ; he had the formal subtlety peculiar 
to his own generation ; there was something deliberately 
"ordinary " in his demeanour which was a concealment of 
extraordinary fires a method of self-protection common 
enough in my grandfather's generation, though rare now. 

There are many who might have thought him unim- 
pressive because he was content to be serious and deter- 
mined to be unspectacular. But his was the kind of 
character to which I lay open. He was an artist, proud of 
his art, who yet made no parade of it ; he was a tradition- 
alist and, therefore, suspicious of fashion ; he had that sort 
of melancholy, the absence of which in any man has always 
seemed to me to be a proclamation of blindness. 

There was in him something timid as well as some- 
thing fierce, as if the world had hurt him and he expected 
it to hurt him again. But what fascinated me above all 
was the contrast between the plainness, the quiet rigidity 
of his behaviour, and the passionate boldness of his mind, 
for this I had always believed to be the tradition of 
English genius, too often and too extravagantly denied. 

To Mr. Joseph McCabe, who wrote proposing to include 
Hardy in a Biographical Dictionary of Modern 


"February 18, 1920. 


"As Mr. Hardy has a cold which makes writing trying 
to his eyes, I answer your letter for him. He says he 
thinks he is rather an irrationalist than a rationalist, on 


account of his inconsistencies. He has, in fact, declared 
as much in prefaces to some of his poems, where he ex- 
plains his views as being mere impressions that frequently 
change. Moreover, he thinks he could show that no man 
is a rationalist, and that human actions are not ruled by 
reason at all in the last resort. But this, of course, is out- 
side the question. So that he cannot honestly claim to 
belong to the honourable body you are including in your 
dictionary, whom he admires for their straightforward 
sincerity and permanent convictions, though he does not 
quite think they can claim their title. 

"Yours very truly, 

"F.E. HARDY." 

On March 7, 1920, Hardy writes to an old friend of 
nearly fifty years' standing, Mr. John Slater, F.R.LB.A. : 

"... As to your question whether I should like to be 
nominated as an Hon. Fellow of the R.I.B.A., I really 
don't know what to say. Age has naturally made me, like 
Gallic, care for none of these things at any rate very 
much, especially as I am hardly ever in London. But at 
the same time I am very conscious of the honour of such 
a proposition, and like to be reminded in such a way that 
I once knew what a T square was. So, shall I leave the 
decision to your judgement ?" 

Hardy was duly nominated and elected, and it was 
a matter of regret to him that he could not attend the 
meetings of the Institute, held still in the same old room 
in Conduit Street in which he had received the prize 
medal for his essay in 1863 from the hands of Sir Gilbert 
Scott. Mr. John Slater was almost the only surviving 
friend of Hardy's architectural years in London since the 
death of Arthur Blomfield. 

"March 25. Joined National Committee for acquir- 
ing Wentworth Place the house once occupied by John 


"April 7. A would-be author, not without humour, 
writing from South Africa for a foreword' from me, adds : 
'Mr. Balfour when writing asked me not to use his re- 
marks, mentioning the number of books sent him from all 
parts of the world (for forewords). But mental dexterity 
greatly inferior to yours, Sir, could contrive to do somewhat, 
and yet avoid the consequences contemplated ' i.e. multi- 
tudes of other would-be novelists asking the same favour/* 

"April 21. Went with F. to St. Margaret's, West- 
minster, to the wedding of Harold Macmillan and Lady 
Dorothy Cavendish. Sat with Lord Morley, and signed 
as one of the witnesses. Morley, seeing Bryce close by us, 
and the Duke of Devonshire near, whispered to F., 
Which weigh most, three O.M.'s or one Duke ?" 

This was Hardy's last visit to London. He, with his 
wife, stayed for two nights only at J. M. Barriers flat, so 
near the house in Adelphi Terrace where he had worked 
as an architect's assistant nearly sixty years before. 

"May 14. Motored with F. and K. to Exeter. Called 
on the Granville-Barkers at Sidmouth. Cathedral serv- 
ice: the beautiful anthem, 'God is gone up* (Croft). 
Well sung. Psalms to Walker in E flat. Felt I should pre- 
fer to be a cathedral organist to anything in the world. 
'Bidding my organ obey, calling its keys to their work, 
claiming each slave of the sound/ A fine May day." 

At the end of May a letter came from C. W. Moule in 
reply to Hardy's note of sympathy on his loss of his only 
remaining brother, Handley, the Bishop of Durham, 
with whom Hardy had had occasion to correspond the 
year before. As it was the last letter Hardy received from 
his correspondent, who himself passed away within the 
next year, the following passages are quoted : 

"In condolence 'the half is more than the whole*, as 
the wise Greek paradox saith (irX&p q/xurv 7raj>ro$). . . . 
Your friendly acceptance of those stanzas was answered 
by me, but that in which you told me that dear Horace 


was one of 'The Five Students' in Moments of Vision I 
fear was never answered. ... I did not know of Hand- 
ley's nearness in age to your sister Mary (they were only 
two days apart), nor did I know that your mother and 
mine knew each other well enough to compare notes on 
the point. ... I am glad you saw him at Max Gate. 
We wish that we could see you here. I may try to send 
you some book in memoriam H. C. G. M. . . . * Not one 
is there among us that understandeth any more', as a 
snapshot of the current generation, is worthy of you." 
(Hardy had quoted the words from the 74th Psalm in the 
letter to which this was an answer, alluding probably to 
the memories familiar to all three.) 

On June 2nd of this year came Hardy's eightieth 
birthday, and he received a deputation from the Society 
of Authors, consisting of Mr. Augustine Birrell, Sir 
Anthony Hope Hawkins, and Mr. John Galsworthy. The 
occasion was a pleasant one, and the lunch lively. Many 
messages were received during the day, including one 
from the King, the Lord Mayor of London, the Cam- 
bridge Vice-Chancellor, and the Prime Minister, 

Hardy pencilled down the following as "Birthday 

"When, like the Psalmist, 'I call mine own ways to 
remembrance', I find nothing in them that quite justifies 
this celebration. 

"The value of old age depends upon the person who 
reaches it. To some men of early performance it is use- 
less. To others, who are late to develop, it just enables 
them to complete their job, 

"We have visited two cathedrals during the last 
month, and I could not help feeling that if men could get 
a little more of the reposefulness and peace of those build- 
ings into their lives how much better it would be for them. 

"Nature's indifference to the advance of her species 
along what we are accustomed to call civilized lines makes 

AET. 79-80 A DEPUTATION 213 

the late war of no importance to her, except as a sort of 
geological fault in her continuity. 

"Though my life, like the lives of my contemporaries, 
covers a period of more material advance in the world 
than any of the same length can have done in other cen- 
turies, I do not find that real civilization has advanced 
equally. People are not more humane, so far as I can see, 
than they were in the year of my birth. Disinterested 
kindness is less. The spontaneous goodwill that used to 
characterize manual workers seems to have departed. 
One day of late a railway-porter said to a feeble old lady, 
a friend of ours, 'See to your luggage yourself. Human 
nature had not sunk so low as that in 1 840. 

"If, as has been lately asserted, tmly the young and 
feeble League of Nations stands between us and the utter 
destruction of Civilization, it makes one feel he would 
rather be old than young. For a person whose chief inter- 
est in life has been the literary art poetry in particular 
the thought is depressing that, should such an over- 
turn arrive, poetry will be the first thing to go, probably 
not to revive again for many centuries. Anyhow, it be- 
hoves young poets and other writers to endeavour to 
stave off such a catastrophe." 

Among others who remembered his birthday, Mr. 
John Lane sent a glass goblet which had come into 
his possession many years before, remarking, ... "no 
doubt it was intended as a gift for you from some fair but 
probably shy admirer" ; to which Hardy replied : 

"Alas, for the mysterious goblet inscribed to the mys- 
terious namesake of mine. He must, or may, have been a 
jocky from the diagrams. . . . Anyhow, no woman ever 
took the trouble to inscribe her love forme on a cup of crys- 
tal of that you may be sure ; and it is best on the whole 
to leave the history of the glass in vague uncertainty." 

The next week J. M. Barrie came to Max Gate on a 
visit, and in July Hardy and his wife were motoring about 

2i 4 LIFE'S DECLINE 1920 

Dorset, showing some features of the country to their 
friend, Mrs. Arthur Henniker, who was staying at Wey- 
mouth, and at that time had ideas of buying a house in 
the neighbourhood. He was also engaged in further cor- 
respondence on the scheme of establishing a South-west- 
ern University at Exeter, 

To Mr. G. Herbert Thring. 

"August 23, 1920. 

"The address from the Members of the Council, 
representing the Society of Authors all, has reached me 
safely, and though I knew its contents its spiritual part 
on my actual birthday when the deputation came here, 
I did not realize its bodily beauty till now. 

"As to the address itself, I can only confirm by this 
letter what I told the deputation by word of mouth 
how much I have been moved by such a mark of good 
feeling affection as I may truly call it in the body of 
writers whose President I have had the distinction of 
being for many years a do-nothing President, a roi- 
fainSanty I very greatly fear, in spite of their assurances ! 
However, the Society has been good enough to take me as 
worth this tribute, and I thank them heartily for it and 
what it expresses. It will be a cheering reminder of bright 
things whenever I see it or think of it, which will be often 
and often." 

" September 6. Death of Evelyn Gifford, at Arlington 
House, Oxford. Dear Evelyn ! whom I last parted from in 
apparently perfect health." She was the daughter of Dr. 
Gifford who married Margaret Jeune, and the poem, 
" Evelyn G. of Christminster ", was written on this occasion. 

"November 1 1. Hardy's poem, "And there was a great 
calm", appeared in The Times Armistice Supplement. 

The request to write this poem had been brought to 
him from London by one of the editorial staff. At first 


Hardy was disinclined, and all but refused, being gener- 
ally unable to write to order. In the middle of the night, 
however, an idea seized him, and he was heard moving 
about the house looking things up* The poem was duly 
written and proved worthy of the occasion. 

On the 1 3th the Dorchester Amateurs performed The 
Return of the Native in Dorchester, as dramatized by Mr. 

"More interested than I expected to be. The dancing 
was just as it used to be at Higher Bockhampton in my 

In declining to become a Vice-President of a well- 
known Society Hardy writes : 

"I may be allowed to congratulate its members upon 
their wise insistence on the word 'English' as the name of 
this country's people, and in not giving way to a few 
short-sighted clamourers for the vague, unhistoric and 
pinchbeck title of 'British* by which they would fain see 
it supplanted." 

Towards the end of the year Hardy was occupied with 
the following interesting correspondence : 

To Mr. Alfred Noyes. 

"DORCHESTER, ijfh December 1920. 

"Somebody has sent me an article from the Morning 
Post of December 9 entitled c Poetry and Religion*, which 
reports you as saying, in a lecture, that mine is a c phi- 
losophy which told them (readers) that the Power behind 
the Universe was an imbecile jester'. 

"As I hold no such * philosophy*, and, to the best of 
my recollection, never could have done so, I should be 
glad if you would inform me whereabouts I have seriously 
asserted such to be my opinion. 

"Yours truly, 

"Tfe. HARDY** 

216 LIFE'S DECLINE 1920 

It should be stated that Mr. Noyes had always been a 
friendly critic of Hardy's writings, and one with whom he 
was on good terms, which was probably Hardy's reason 
for writing to him, who would be aware there was no 
personal antagonism in his letter. 

Mr. Noyes replied that he was sorry the abbreviated 
report of his address did not contain the tribute he had 
paid Hardy as a writer with artistic mastery and at the 
head of living authors, although he did disagree with his 
pessimistic philosophy; a philosophy which, in his opinion, 
led logically to the conclusion that the Power behind the 
Universe was malign ; and he referred to various passages 
in Hardy's poems that seemed to bear out his belief that 
their writer held the views attributed to him in the lec- 
ture ; offering, however, to revise it when reprinted, if he 
had misinterpreted the aforesaid passages. 

To Mr. Alfred Noyes. 

"December ip/A, 1920. 

"I am much obliged for your reply, which I really 
ought not to have troubled you to write. I may say for 
myself that I very seldom do give critics such trouble, 
usually letting things drift, though there have been many 
occasions when a writer who has been so much abused for 
his opinions as I have been would perhaps have done 
well not to hold his peace. 

"I do not know that there can be much use in my say- 
ing more than I did say. It seems strange that I should 
have to remind a man of letters of what, I should have 
supposed, he would have known as well as I of the very 
elementary rule of criticism that a writer's works should 
be judged as a whole, and not from picked passages that 
contradict them as a whole and this especially when 
they are scattered over a period of fifty years. 

"*AIso -that I should have to remind him of the vast 

. 79-80 A CONTROVERSY 217 

difference between the expression of fancy and the ex- 
pression of belief. My imagination may have often run 
away with me ; but all the same, my sober opinion so far 
as I have any definite one of the Cause of Things, has 
been defined in scores of places, and is that of a great 
many ordinary thinkers : that the said Cause is neither 
moral nor immoral, but unmoral : ' loveless and hateless' 
I have called it, * which neither good nor evil knows' 
etc., etc. (you will find plenty of these definitions in The 
Dynasts as well as in short poems, and I am surprised that 
you have not taken them in). This view is quite in keep- 
ing with what you call a Pessimistic philosophy (a mere 
nickname with no sense in it), which I am quite unable to 
see as 'leading logically to the conclusion that the Power 
behind the universe is malign'. 

"In my fancies, or poems of the imagination, I have 
of course called this Power all sorts of names never sup- 
posing they would be taken for more than fancies. I have 
even in prefaces warned readers to take them as such as 
mere impressions of the moment, exclamations in fact. 
But it has always been my misfortune to presuppose a too 
intelligent reading public, and no doubt people will go on 
thinking that I really believe the Prime Mover to be a 
malignant old gentleman, a sort of King of Dahomey 
an idea which, so far from my holding it, is to me irre- 
sistibly comic. 'What a fool one must have been to write 
for such a public !' is the inevitable reflection at the end 
of one's life. 

"The lines you allude to, "A Young Man's Epigram' 
dated 1866, 1 remember finding in a drawer, and printed 
them merely as an amusing instance of early cynicism. 
The words 'Time's Laughingstocks' are legitimate imagery 
all of a piece with such expressions as 'Life, Time's fool', 
and thousands in poetry and I am amazed that you should 
see any belief in them. The other verses you mention, 
'New Year's Eve', 'His Education', are the same fanciful 



impressions of the moment. The poem called 'He ab- 
jures Love ', ending with 'And then the curtain', is a 
love-poem, and lovers are chartered irresponsibles. A 
poem often quoted against me, and apparently in your 
mind in the lecture, is the one called * Nature's Question- 
ing', containing the words, 'some Vast Imbecility', etc. 
as if these definitions were my creed. But they are merely 
enumerated in the poem as fanciful alternatives to several 
others, having nothing to do with my own opinion. As 
for 'The Unborn*, to which you allude, though the form 
of it is imaginary, the sentiment is one which I should 
think, especially since the war, is not uncommon or un- 

"This week I have had sent me a review which quotes 
a poem entitled 'To my Father's Violin', containing a 
Virgilian reminiscence of mine of Acheron and the Shades. 
The writer comments: 'Truly this pessimism is insup- 
portable. . . . One marvels that Hardy is not in a mad- 
house'. Such is English criticism, and I repeat, why did 
I ever write a line ! And perhaps if the young ladies to 
whom you lectured really knew that, so far from being 
the wicked personage they doubtless think me at present 
to be, I am a harmless old character much like their own 
grandfathers, they would consider me far less romantic 
and attractive." 

Mr. Noyes in a further interesting letter, after re- 
assuring Hardy that he would correct any errors, gave his 
own views, one of which was that he had "never been 
able to conceive a Cause of Things that could be less in 
any respect than the things caused ". To which Hardy 
replied : 

" Many thanks for your letter. The Scheme of Things 
is, indeed, incomprehensible; and there I suppose we 
must leave it perhaps for the best. Knowledge might 
be terrible.- 


To "The New York World". 

"December 0,3, 1920. 

"Yes I approve of international disarmament, on the 
lines indicated by the New York World" 

The following letter, written to someone about De- 
cember 1920, obviously refers to his correspondence with 
Mr. Noyes : 

"A friend of mine writes objecting to what he calls 
my 'philosophy' (though I have no philosophy merely 
what I have often explained to be only a confused heap of 
impressions, like those of a bewildered child at a conjur- 
ing show). He says he has never been able to conceive a 
Cause of Things that could be less in any respect than the 
thing caused. This apparent impossibility to him, and to 
so many, is very likely owing to his running his head 
against a Single Cause, and perceiving no possible other. 
But if he would discern that what we call the first Cause 
should be called First Causes, his difficulty would be 
lessened. Assume a thousand unconscious causes 
lumped together in poetry as one Cause, or God and 
bear in mind that a coloured liquid can be produced by 
the mixture of colourless ones, a noise by the juxtaposi- 
tion of silences, etc., etc., and you see that the assumption 
that intelligent beings arise from the combined action 
of unintelligent forces is sufficiently probable for imagi- 
native writing, and I have never attempted scientific. It 
is my misfortune that people will treat all my mood- 
dictated writing as a single scientific theory." 

About Christmas the song entitled "When I set out 
for Lyonnesse" was published as set to music by Mr. 
Charles A. Speyer. It was one of his own poems that 
Hardy happened to like, and he was agreeably surprised 
that it should be liked by anybody else, his experience 

a2o LIFE'S DECLINE 1920 

being that an author's preference for particular verses of 
his own was usually based on the circumstances that gave 
rise to them, and not on their success as art. 

On Christmas night the carol singers and mummers 
came to Max Gate as they had promised., the latter per- 
forming the Play of Saint George, just as he had seen it 
performed in his childhood* On the last day of the old 
year a poem by Hardy called "At the Entering of the 
New Year" appeared in the Athenaeum. 

1921-1925: Act. 80-85 

THE New Year found Hardy sitting up to hear the bells, 
which he had not done for some time. 

Early in January he was searching through registers of 
Stinsford for records of a family named Knight, con- 
nected with his own. Many generations of this family 
are buried in nameless graves in Stinsford Churchyard. 

J. M. Barrie paid him a brief visit on May 1 i, staying 
at Max Gate for one night, and visiting Hardy's birth- 
place at Bockhampton on the morning of May 12. The 
same day Hardy learned of the death of a friend, an elder 
brother of the confidant and guide of his youth and early 
manhood. In his note-book he writes : 

"May n. Charles Moule died. He is the last of * the 
seven brethren'/' 

On June 2 he notes that his birthday was remembered 
by the newspapers, and that he received an address from 
younger writers. Accompanying this was a fine copy of the 
first edition of "Lamia", "Isabella", "The Eve of St. 
Agnes", and other poems by John Keats, in the original 
boards with the half-title and eight pages of advertise- 

The idea had originated with Mr. St. John Ervine, 
who summoned a committee to consider the nature of the 
tribute. The address was signed by a hundred and six 
younger writers, and ran as follows : 

222 LIFE'S DECLINE 1921-25 


"We, who are your younger comrades in the craft of 
letters, wish on this your eighty-first birthday to do hon- 
our to ourselves by praising your work, and to thank you 
for the example of high endeavour and achievement 
which you have set before us. In your novels and poems 
you have given us a tragic vision of life which is informed 
by your knowledge of character and relieved by the char- 
ity of your humour, and sweetened by your sympathy 
with human suffering and endurance* We have learned 
from you that the proud heart can subdue the hardest fate, 
even in submitting to it. ... In all that you have writ- 
ten you have shown the spirit of man, nourished by tradi- 
tion and sustained by pride, persisting through defeat. 

"You have inspired us both by your work and by the 
manner in which it was done. The craftsman in you calls 
for our admiration as surely as the artist, and few writers 
have observed so closely as you have the Host's instruc- 
tion in the Canterbury Tales: 

"Your tarmes, your colours, and your figures, 
Keep them in store, till so be ye indite 
High style, as when that men to kinges write* 

"From your first book to your last, you have written 
in the 'high style, as when the men to kinges write', and 
you have crowned a great prose with a noble poetry. 

"We thank you, Sir, for all that you have written . . . 
but most of all, perhaps, for The Dynasts. 

"We beg that you will accept the copy of the first 
edition of Lamia by John Keats which accompanies this 
letter, and with it, accept also our grateful homage." 

A few days later, on June 9, he motored to Stur- 
minster Newton with his wife and Mr. Cecil Hanbury to 
see a performance of The Mellstock Quire by the Hardy 
Players in the Castle ruins. Afterwards he went to River- 


side, the house where he had written The Return of the 
Native^ and where the Players were then having tea. 

On June 16 Mr. de la Mare arrived for a visit of two 
nights. The following day he walked to Stinsford with 
Hardy and was much interested in hearing about the 
various graves, and in reading a poem that Hardy had just 
lately written, "Voices from Things growing in a Country 
Churchyard". The first verse of the poem runs thus : 

These flowers are I, poor Fanny Hurd, 

Sir or Madam, 
A little girl here sepultured. 
Once I flit-fluttered like a bird 
Above the grass, as now I wave 
In daisy shapes above my grave, 

All day cheerily, 

All night eerily ! 

Fanny Kurd's real name was Fanny Hurden, and 
Hardy remembered her as a delicate child who went to 
school with him. She died when she was about eighteen, 
and her grave and a head-stone with her name are to be 
seen in Stinsford Churchyard. The others mentioned in 
this poem were known to him by name and repute. 

Early in July a company of film actors arrived in Dor- 
chester for the purpose of preparing a film of The Mayor of 
Casterbridge. Hardy met them outside The King's Arms, 
the hotel associated with the novel. Although the actors 
had their faces coloured yellow and were dressed in the 
fashion of some eighty years earlier, Hardy observed, to 
his surprise, that the townsfolk passed by on their ordi- 
nary affairs and seemed not to notice the strange spectacle, 
nor did any interest seem aroused when Hardy drove 
through the town with the actors to Maiden Castle, that 
ancient earthwork which formed the background to one 
part of the film. 

About this time he went to St. Peter's Church, to a 

224 LIFE'S DECLINE 1921-25 

morning service, for the purpose of hearing sung by the 
choir the morning hymn, "Awake my Soul", to Barthe- 
lemon's setting. This had been arranged for him by Dr. 
Niven, the Rector of St. Peter's. Church music, as has 
been shown, had appealed strongly to Hardy from his 
earliest years. On July 23 a sonnet, "Barthelemon at 
Vauxhall", appeared in The Times. He had often 
imagined the weary musician, returning from his nightly 
occupation of making music for a riotous throng, lingering 
on Westminster Bridge to see the rising sun and being 
thence inspired to the composition of music to be heard 
hereafter in places very different from Vauxhall. 

In the same month he opened a bazaar in aid of the 
Dorset County Hospital, and in the evening of that day 
he was driven into Dorchester again to see some dancing 
in the Borough Gardens. Of this he writes : 

"Saw 'The Lancers' danced (for probably the last 
time) at my request. Home at 10 : outside our gate full 
moon over cottage : band still heard playing/* 

At the beginning of September Hardy stood sponsor 
at the christening of the infant daughter of Mr. and Mrs. 
Cecil Hanbury of Kingston Maurward. His gift to his 
little godchild was the manuscript of a short poem con- 
tained in a silver box. This appeared afterwards in 
Human Shows under the title "To C.F.H.". 

Three days later he was again at Stinsford Church, 
attending the evening service. In his notebook he re- 
cords : "A beautiful evening. Evening Hymn Tallis." 

During the latter half of September Hardy was sitting 
to his friend, Mr. Ouless, for his portrait, which now 
hangs in the National Portrait Gallery. On October 14 
he received a visit from Mr. and Mrs. John Masefield, 
who brought with them a gift : a full-rigged ship made by 
John Masefield himself. This ship had been named by its 
maker The Triumph, and was much valued by Hardy, 



^/Vi*<. ^ 


A. Af^T- 

Facsimile reproduction from page of original MS. of &;/# Lyrics and Earlier. 


who showed it with pride to callers at Max Gate, with the 
story of how it arrived. Four days later Hardy writes : 
"October 1 8. In afternoon to Stinsford with F. A 
matchless October : sunshine., mist and turning leaves." 

The first month of 1922 found him writing an ener- 
getic preface to a volume of poems entitled Late Lyrics 
and Earlier y the MS. of which he forwarded to the pub- 
lishers on January 23. Some of his friends regretted this 
preface, thinking that it betrayed an oversensitiveness to 
criticism which it were better the world should not know* 
But sensitiveness was one of Hardy's chief characteristics, 
and without it his poems would never have been written, 
nor indeed, the greatest of his novels. He used to say that 
it was not so much the force of the blow that counted, as 
the nature of the material that received the blow. 

An interesting point in this preface was his attitude 
towards religion. Through the years 1920 to 1925 Hardy 
was interested in conjectures on rationalizing the English 
Church. There had been rumours for some years of a 
revised Liturgy, and his hopes were accordingly raised by 
the thought of making the Established Church compre- 
hensive enough to include the majority of thinkers of the 
previous hundred years who had lost all belief in the 

When the new Prayer Book appeared, however, his 
hopes were doomed to disappointment, and he found that 
the revision had not been in a rationalistic direction, and 
from that time he lost all expectation of seeing the 
Church representative of modern thinking minds. 

In April J. M. Barrie stayed at Max Gate for one 
night. The 2jrd May saw the publication of Late Lyrics 
and Earlier^ and on the following day Hardy motored to 
Sturminster Newton to call at the house where he had 
spent some of the early years of his first marriage, and 

226 LIFE'S DECLINE 1921-25 

where he wrote The Return of the Native. Two days later 
he notes: "Visited Stinsford and Higher Bockhampton. 
House at the latter shabby, and garden. Just went 
through into heath, and up plantation to top of garden/' 
It was becoming increasingly painful to Hardy to visit 
this old home of his, and often when he left he said that 
he would go there no more. 

On May 29 he copied some old notes made before 
he had contemplated writing The Dynasts. 

"We the people Humanity, a collective personality 
(Thus Ve' could be engaged in the battle of Hohenlin- 
den, say, and in the battle of Waterloo) dwell with genial 
humour on f our j getting into a rage for we knew not what. 

"The intelligence of this collective personality 
Humanity is pervasive, ubiquitous, like that of God. 
Hence e.g. on the one hand we could hear the roar of the 
cannon, discern the rush of the battalions, on the other 
hear the voice of a man protesting, etc. 

" Title * self-slaughter ' ; ' divided against ourselves '. 

"Now these 3 (or 3000) whirling through space at the 
rate of 40 miles a second (God's view). 'Some of our 
family who" (the we of one nation speaking of the c we* 
of another). 

"A battle. Army as somnambulists not knowing 
what it is for. 

"We were called 'Artillery* etc. *We were so under 
the spell of habit that 1 (drill). 

"It is now necessary to call the reader's attention to 
those of us who were harnessed and collared in blue and 
brass. . . . 

"Poem the difference between what things are and 
what they ought to be. (Stated as by a god to the gods 
i.e. as God's story.) 

"Poem I First Cause, omniscient, not omnipotent 
limitations, difficulties, etc., from being only able to 
work by Law (His only failing is lack of foresight). 


"We will now ask the reader to look eastward with 
us ... at what the contingent of us out that way were 

"Poem. A spectral force seen acting in a man (e.g. 
Napoleon) and he acting under it a pathetic sight this 

"Patriotism, if aggressive and at the expense of other 
countries, is a vice ; if in sympathy with them, a vlrtue." 

From these notes it will be seen how The Dynasts had 
been slowly developing in his mind. Unfortunately they 
are not dated, but there is in existence a notebook filled 
with details of the Napoleonic wars, and reflection upon 
them, having been written at the time he was gathering 
material for The Trumpet-Major^ which was first pub- 
lished in 1880. 

During July Hardy had visits from many friends. 
Florence Henniker came early in the month, and went for 
a delightful drive with him and his wife in Blackmore 
Vale, and to Sherborne, the scene of The Woodlanders. 
Later Siegfried Sassoon arrived with Edmund Blunden, 
and then E. M. Forster, who accompanied him to an 
amateur performance of A Midsummer Nigh? f s Dream on 
the lawn of Trinity Rectory. 

In August he was well enough to cycle (no small feat 
for a man of eighty-two) with his wife to Talbothays to 
visit his brother and his sister. 

On August 1 1 he writes in his notebook : 

"Motored to Sturminster Newton, and back by Dog- 
bury Gate. Walked to top of High Stoy with Flower 
(probably for the last time), thence back home. A beauti- 
ful drive." 

"October 12. Walked across Boucher's Close to Ewe- 
lease Stile." (Boucher's Close is a green-wooded meadow 
next to Stinsford Vicarage, and the Ewelease Stile is the 
one whereon, more than fifty years before this date, he 

228 LIFE'S DECLINE 1921-25 

had sat and read the review of Desperate Remedies in The 

On the same day Hardy wrote to J. H. Morgan as follows : 


" I had already begun a reply to your interesting letter 
from Berlin, which opened up so many points that had 
engaged me 20 years ago, but had rather faded in my 
memory. Now that you are at home I will write it in a 
more succinct form, for it is not likely that amid the many 
details you have to attend to after your absence you will 
want to think much about Napoleonic times. 

"I cannot for my life recall where I obtained the idea 
of N's entry into Berlin by the Potsdamer-strasse, though 
I don't think I should have written it without authority. 
However, you have to remember that the events gener- 
ally in The Dynasts had to be pulled together into dra- 
matic scenes, to show themselves to the mental eye of the 
reader as a picture viewed from one point ; and hence it 
was sometimes necessary to see round corners, down 
crooked streets, and to shift buildings nearer each other 
than in reality (as Turner did in his landscapes) ; and it 
may possibly happen that I gave *A Public Place* in 
Berlin these convenient facilities without much ceremony. 

"You allude to Leipzig. That battle bothered me 
much more than Jena or Ulm (to which you also allude) 
in fact more than any other battle I had to handle. I 
defy any human being to synchronize with any certainty 
its episodes from descriptions by historians. My time- 
table was, I believe, as probable a one as can be drawn up 
at this date. But I will go no further with these stale con- 
jectures, now you are in London. 

"I have quite recently been reading a yellow old 
letter written from Berlin in June, 1815, by a Dorset man 
whose daughter is a friend of ours, and who lately sent it 
to me. The writer says what is oddly in keeping with your 


remarks on the annoyance of Prussian officers. * Buona- 
parte has rendered Germany completely military; at the 
inns and post-houses a private Gentleman exacts not half 
the respect exacted by a soldier. This contempt for those 
who wear no swords displays itself in no very pleasant 
shape to travellers. About 3 weeks ago I might have died 
of damp sheets if my German servant had not taken upon 
him to assure a brute of a Post-master that I was an 
English General travelling for my health. ... I have 
since girded on a sabre, got a military cap, and let my 
moustache grow : soldiers now present arms as we pass.' 

"It would be strange to find that Napoleon was really 
the prime cause of German militarism ! What a Nemesis 
for the French nation ! 

"Well, I have gone back to Boney again after all: 
but no more of him. I hope you find the change to 
London agreeable, and keep well in your vicissitudes. 

"Sincerely yours, 


Early in November he was visited by Mrs. Henry 
Allhusen, his friend from her girlhood, when she was Miss 
Dorothy Stanley, daughter of Lady Jeune, afterwards 
Lady St. Helier. With Mrs. Allhusen and her daughter 
Elizabeth he motored to Dogbury Gate and other beauti- 
ful parts of Dorset. Elizabeth Allhusen^ a charming girl, 
died soon after, to Hardy's grief. 

A few days later came a letter from the Pro-Provost of 
Queen's College, Oxford, to say that it had been decided 
to elect him to an Honorary Fellowship, which he ac- 
cepted, an announcement to that effect being made in 
The Times on the 2oth of the month. 

Another entry in his notebook : 

"November 27. E's death-day, ten years ago. Went 
with F. and tidied her tomb and carried flowers for her 
and the other two tombs.-* 

230 LIFE'S DECLINE 1921-25 

"New Year's Eve. Henry and Kate came to I o'clock 
dinner, stayed to tea, left 5.30. Did not sit up." 

Early in January 1923 Hardy was appointed Governor 
of the Dorchester Grammar School for three years. 

"February 26. A story (rather than a poem) might be 
written in the first person, in which *I* am supposed to 
live through the centuries in my ancestors, in one person, 
the particular line of descent chosen being that in which 
qualities are most continuous/' (From an old note.) 

A few days after this entry, is the following : 

" April $. In to-day's Times: 

'Henniker. on the 4th April, 1923, of heart failure, 
the Honourable Mrs. Arthur Henniker. R. I. P/ 

" After a friendship of 30 years !"- 

"April 10. F. Henniker buried to-day at I o'clock at 
Thornham Magna, Eye, Suffolk/' 

During the month of April Hardy finished the rough 
draft of his poetical play, The Queen of Cornwall, and in 
May he made, with infinite care, his last drawing, an 
imaginary view of Tintagel Castle. This is delicately 
drawn, an amazing feat for a man in his eighty- third year, 
and it indicates his architectural tastes and early training. 
It was used as an illustration when The Queen of Cornwall 
was published. 

In April, replying to a letter from Mr. John Gals- 
worthy, he writes : 

". . . The exchange of international thought is the 
only possible salvation for the world : and though I was 
decidedly premature when I wrote at the beginning of the 
South African War that I hoped to see patriotism not 
confined to realms, but circling the earth, I still maintain 
that such sentiments ought to prevail. 

"Whether they will do so before the year 10,000 is of 
course what sceptics may doubt." 

Towards the end of May Mr. and Mrs. Walter de la 
Mare stayed at Max Gate for two nights, and early in 


June, the day after Hardy's birthday, Mr. and Mrs. 
Granville-Barker came to see him, bringing with them 
friends he had not seen for many years, Mr. and Mrs. 
Max Beerbohm. 

"June 10. Relativity. That things and events always 
were, are, and will be (e.g. Emma, Mother and Father are 
living still in the past)/' 

"June 21. Went with F. on board the Queen Elizabeth 
on a visit to Sir John de Robeck, Lady de Robeck, and 
Admiral W. W. Fisher/' More than once, upon the invi- 
tation of Admiral Fisher, he had had a pleasant time on 
board a battleship off Portland. 

On June 25 Hardy and his wife went to Oxford by 
road to stay at Queen's College for two nights. This was 
the last long journey that Hardy was to make, and the 
last time that he was to sleep away from Max Gate. It 
was a delightful drive, by way of Salisbury, Hungerford, 
and Wantage. At Salisbury they stopped for a little while 
to look at the Cathedral, as Hardy always loved doing, 
and at various old buildings, including the Training Col- 
lege which he had visited more than fifty years before 
when his two sisters were students there, and which is 
faithfully described in Jude the Obscure. 

They paused also at Fawley, that pleasant Berkshire 
village described in the same novel under the name of 
Marygreen. Here some of Hardy's ancestors were buried, 
and he searched fruitlessly for their graves in the little 
churchyard. His father's mother, the gentle, kindly 
grandmother who lived with the family at Bockhampton 
during Hardy's childhood, had spent the first thirteen years 
of her life here as an orphan child, named Mary Head, and 
her memories of Fawley were so poignant that she never 
cared to return to the place after she had left it as a young 
girl. The surname of Jude was taken from this place. 

So well had their journey been timed that on their 

232 LIFE'S DECLINE 1921-25 

arrival at Oxford they found awaiting them under the 
entrance gateway of Queen's., Mr. Godfrey Elton,, who 
was to be their cicerone, and whose impressions of their 
visit are given herewith. 

" Having been elected an Honorary Fellow Hardy paid 
Queen's College a visit on June 25th and 26th, just after 
the end of the summer term, of 1923. With a colleague, 
Dr. Chattaway, I was delighted to meet him at the Col- 
lege gate he was to come by road with Mrs. Hardy from 
Dorchester. Neither Chattaway not I had met Hardy be- 
fore, but I felt confident that we should recognise the now 
legendary figure from his portraits. It was almost like 
awaiting a visit from Thackeray or Dickens. . . . 

"The car arrived punctually, and a smallish, fragile, 
bright-eyed man, elderly certainly but as certainly not 
old, climbed out of it. An elderly gentleman, one would 
have said, who had always lived in the country and knew 
much of the ways of wild creatures and crops. . . . 

"We left Mr. and Mrs. Hardy at tea in the Provost's 
lodgings. The Provost was only one year Mr. Hardy's 
senior, but with his patriarchal white beard appeared a 
great deal older, and as we left the party Hardy sitting 
bright-eyed and upright on the edge of his chair it 
seemed almost like leaving a new boy in charge of his 
headmaster. . . . Next day there was a lunch in Common- 
room, at which the Fellows and their wives met Mr. and 
Mrs. Hardy, and a photograph in the Fellows' garden in 
which Hardy appeared in his Doctor's gown with his 
new colleagues. In the morning he was shown the sights 
of the College. He was obviously happy to be in Oxford, 
and happy, I think, too, to be of it, and I wished that it 
had been term-time and that he could have seen the 
younger life of the place, which one felt in some ways he 
would have preferred to Tutors and Professors. We took 
him round College a trifle too fast. He would pause reflec- 
tively before Garrick's copy of the First Folio or the 

. 80-85 SOME FAREWELLS 233 

contemporary portrait of Henry V., and seem about to 
make some comment when his conductors would be pass- 
ing on again and some new historical information would 
be being offered him. It was characteristic of him that in 
some pause in this perambulation he found occasion to say 
some kind words to me of some youthful verse of mine he 
had chanced to see. . * . Afterwards he asked me to take 
him into the High Street to see the famous curve, and we 
spent some minutes searching for the precise spot from 
which it can best be viewed, while in my mind memories 
oijude the Obscure and an earlier Oxford conflicted with 
anxieties as to the traffic of the existing town to which 
he seemed quite indifferent. Then, apparently un- 
wearied, he asked for the Shelley Memorial. . . . 

"After this came the Common-room lunch, and after- 
wards Mrs. Hardy invited me to accompany them on a 
visit to the Masefields. We drove to Boar's Hill, paying a 
visit in Christ Church on the way. Had it not been for 
my constant consciousness that I was sitting before a 
Classic, I should not have guessed that I was with a man 
who wrote ; rather an elderly country gentleman with a 
birdlike alertness and a rare and charming youthfulness 
interested in everything he saw, and cultured, but surely 
not much occupied with books : indeed almost all of us, his 
new colleagues, would have struck an impartial observer as 
far more bookish than the authorof the Wessex novels. . . . 

"At the Masefields' Hardy was asked a question or 
two about Jude's village, which it was thought he might 
have passed on the road from Dorchester, and he spoke 
briefly and depreciatingly of 'that fictitious person. If 
there ever was such a person. . . . - When we left, Hardy 
holding a rose which Mr. Masefield had cut from his gar- 
den, there was still time to see more. I had expected that 
he would wish to rest, but no ; he wanted to see the Martyrs' 
Memorial and New College Cloisters. Obviously there 
were certain of the Oxford sights which he had resolved 


to see again, I am ashamed to remember that, by some 
error which I cannot now explain, I conducted our guests 
to the Chapel, instead of the Cloisters, at New College. 
But perhaps it was a fortunate error for the choir were 
about to sing the evening service, and at Hardy's wish we 
sat for about twenty minutes in the ante-chapel listening 
in silence to the soaring of boys' voices. . . . 

"Next morning Mr* and Mrs. Hardy left. He spoke 
often afterwards of his pleasure at having seen his Col- 
lege, and he contemplated another visit. This too brief 
membership and his one visit remain a very happy 
memory to his colleagues." 

The Hardys motored back to Max Gate by way of 
Newbury, Winchester, and Ringwood, having lunch in a 
grassy glade in the New Forest in the simple way that 
Hardy so much preferred. 

This occasion was an outstanding one during the last 
years of his life. 

On July 20 the Prince of Wales paid a visit to Dor- 
chester, to open the new Drill Hall for the Dorset Terri- 
torials, and Hardy was invited to meet him there, and to 
drive back to Max Gate where the Prince and the party 
accompanying him were to lunch. It was a hot day, and 
the whole episode might well have proved fatiguing and 
irksome to a man of Hardy's years and retiring nature, 
but owing to the thoughtfulness of the Prince and his 
simple and friendly manner, all passed off pleasantly. 

At lunch, beside the Prince and the Hardys, there were 
present Lord Shaftesbury, Admiral Sir Lionel Halsey, Sir 
Godfrey Thomas, Mr. (afterwards Sir) Walter Peacock, 
and Messrs. Proudfoot and Wilson, the Duchy Stewards. 

The Prince had a friendly talk with Hardy in the 
garden, before leaving to visit certain Duchy farms in 
Dorchester : the main characteristic of the visit was its 
easy informality. 


The next few months saw a certain activity on Hardy's 
part. He visited several friends either for lunch or tea,, as 
he did not go out in the evening except for a short walk, 
nor did he again sleep away from Max Gate. Many from 
a distance also called upon him, including his ever faith- 
ful friend, Lady St. Helier, who travelled from Newbury 
to Max Gate on October 3rd, this being their last meeting. 

On November I5th the poetic drama, The Famous 
Tragedy of the Queen of Cornwall, was published. Hardy's 
plan in writing this is clearly given in a letter to Mr. 
Harold Child : 

"The unities are strictly preserved, whatever virtue 
there may be in that. (I, myself, am old-fashioned enough 
to think there is a virtue in it, if it can be done without 
artificiality. The only other case I remember attempting 
it in was The Return of the Native*} The original events 
could have been enacted in the time taken up by the per- 
formance, and they continue unbroken throughout. The 
change of persons on the stage is called a change of scene,, 
there being no change of background. 

"My temerity in pulling together into the space of an 
hour events that in the traditional stories covered a long 
time will doubtless be criticized, if it is noticed. But there 
are so many versions of the famous romance that I felt 
free to adapt it to my purpose in any way as, in fact, the 
Greek dramatists did in their plays notably Euripides. 

"Wishing it to be thoroughly English I have dropped 
the name of Chorus for the conventional onlookers, and 
called them Chanters, though they play the part of a Greek 
Chorus to some extent. I have also called them Ghosts (I 
don't for the moment recall an instance of this in a Greek 
play). . . . Whether the lady ghosts in our performance 
will submit to have their faces whitened I don't know! . . . 

"I have tried to avoid turning the rude personages of 
say, the fifth century into respectable Victorians, as was 
done by Tennyson, Swinburne, Arnold, etc. On the other 

236 LIFE'S DECLINE 1921-25 

hand it would have been impossible to present them as 
they really were, with their barbaric manners and 

On the 28th of the same month the play was produced 
by the Hardy Players at the Corn Exchange at Dor- 
chester. The great difficulties which the play presented 
to amateur actors, unaccustomed to reciting blank verse, 
who were at their best in rustic comedy, were more or less 
overcome, but naturally a poetic drama did not make a 
wide appeal. However the performance, and particularly 
the rehearsals, gave Hardy considerable pleasure. 

On December 10 the death was announced of Sir 
Frederick Treves, Hardy's fellow townsman, the emi- 
nent surgeon. Frederick Treves as a child had attended 
the same school as Hardy's elder sister Mary, and it was 
from the shop of Treves's father that Hardy as a boy pur- 
chased his first writing desk. The care which he took of all 
his possessions during his whole life is shown by the fact 
that this desk was in his study without a mark or scratch 
upon it at the time of his death. Because of the early as- 
sociation and the love which they both bore to the county 
there was a strong link between these two Dorset men. 

On the last day but one of the year Mr. and Mrs. G. 
Bernard Shaw and Colonel T. E. Lawrence lunched with 
the Hardys and spent several hours with them. The 
following entry in his notebook ends his brief chronicle of 
the year's doings : 

"31. New Year's Eve. Did not sit up. Heard the bells 
in the evening." 


"January 2. Attended Frederick Treves's funeral at 
St. Peter's. Very wet day. Sad procession to the ceme- 
tery. Casket in a little white grave. 


"Lord Dawson of Penn and Mr. Newman .Flower 
came out to tea afterwards/' 

On January 5 a poem by Hardy, "In Memorial*!, 
F. T.," appeared in The Times, a last tribute to an old 

During February The Queen of Cornwall was per- 
formed in London by the Hardy Players of Dorchester, 
but it was not altogether a success, partly owing to the 
only building available having no stage suitable for the 
performance, a rather small concert platform having to be 

On March 7 Hardy notes : 

"To Stinsford with F. (E. first met 54 years ago)." 

And later, on April 3 : 

"Mother died 20 years ago to-day." 

Among the many letters which arrived on June 2, the 
84th anniversary of his birth, was one from a son of the 
Baptist minister, Mr. Perkins, whom, in his youth, Hardy 
had so respected. This correspondent was one of the 
young men who had met him at the Baptist Chapel at the 
eastern end of the town for a prayer-meeting which was 
hindered by the arrival of a circus. 

More than sixty years had elapsed since Hardy had 
had any contact with this friend of his youth, and for a 
little while he was strongly tempted to get into touch with 
him again. However, too wide a gulf lay between and, as 
might have been told in one of his poems, the gesture was 
never made and the days slipped on into oblivion. 

On June n Mr. Rutland Bough ton arrived at Max 
Gate for a visit of two days, the purpose of which was to 
consult Hardy about a plan he had for setting The Queen 
of Cornwall to music. Hardy was greatly interested, 
though he had heard no modern compositions, not even 
the immensely popular "Faerie Song" from The Immortal 
Hour. "The Blue Danube ", " The Morgenblatter Waltz ", 
and the "Overture to William Tell" interested him more 

238 LIFE'S DECLINE 1921-25 

strongly, and also church music, mainly on account of the 
association with his early days. 

But he found Mr. Bough ton a stimulating companion, 
and was interested in his political views, though he could 
not share them. After Mr. Boughton's departure he said 
with conviction, "If I had talked to him for a few hours I 
would soon have converted him". 

One feature of this visit was a drive the Hardys took 
with their guests across parts of Egdon Heath, which were 
then one blaze of purple with rhododendrons in full bloom. 

On June 16 a poem by Hardy entitled "Compassion" 
appeared in The Times. It was written in answer to a re- 
quest, and was intended to celebrate the Centenary of the 
Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. 

Although not one of his most successful efforts, as he 
was never happy when writing to order, it served to 
demonstrate the poet's passionate hatred of injustice and 

Much has been won more, maybe, than we know 

And on we labour hopeful. "Ailinon !" 
A mighty voice calls : "But may the good prevail !" 
And "Blessed are the Merciful !" 
Calls a yet mightier one. 

On July i the Balliol Players, a party of undergraduates 
from Oxford, visited Max Gate, during the course of a 
tour in the west of England, to perform on the lawn The 
Oresteia as The Curse of the House of Atreus. This was a 
pleasant and informal occasion which gave delight to 
Hardy. Always sympathetic to youth, and a lifelong ad- 
mirer of Greek tragedy, he fully appreciated this mark of 
affection and respect. The performance was not without 
an amusing side. The day was a windy one, and cold for 
July, hence the players with their bare arms and legs and 
scanty costumes must have been none too comfortable. 
However they ran about the lawn and pranced into the 


flower beds with apparent enjoyment. Finding that the 
carrying of lighted torches in the sunlight was ineffective, 
they carried instead tall spikes of a giant flowering spiraea 
which they plucked from a border. While having tea after 
the play they gathered round Hardy, who talked to them 
with a sincerity and simplicity that few but he could have 
shown. Among the names of the players that he jotted 
down in his notebook were those of Mr. A. L. Cliffe 
Clytemnestra ; Mr. Anthony Asquith Cassandra; Mr. 
Walter Oakshott Orestes ; Mr. EL T. Wade-Gery 
Agamemnon; Mr. A. 4- Farrer Electra; and he also 
notes, "The Balliol Players had come on bicycles, sending 
on their theatrical properties in a lorry that sometimes 
broke down". Mr. and Mrs. Granville-Barker were 
present as spectators on this occasion. 

A day or two later, with reference to what is not clear, 
Hardy copies a quotation from Emerson : 

"The foolish man wonders at the unusual, but the 
wise man at the usual." 

On August 4, noted by Hardy as being the day on 
which war was declared ten years before, he and Mrs. 
Hardy motored to Netherton Hall in Devon to lunch 
with Mr. and Mrs. Granville-Barker. Two days later he 
received a visit from Siegfried Sassoon and Colonel T. E. 

About this time Rutland Boughton's music version of 
The Queen of Cornwall was produced at Glastonbury, and 
on August 28 Hardy with his wife went to see and hear it, 
making the journey to Glastonbury by car. 

From the 25th to the 3Oth Hardy was sitting to the 
Russian sculptor, Serge Yourievitch, for his bust. This 
was made in Hardy's study at Max Gate, and though he 
enjoyed conversation with the sculptor he was tired by 
the sittings, probably on account of his age, and definitely 
announced that he would not sit again for anything of the 

2 4 o LIFE'S DECLINE 19*1-25 

For several years some of the members of the Dor- 
chester Debating and Dramatic Society had wished to 
perform a dramatization of Tess of the Urbervilles. After 
much hesitation Hardy handed over his own dramatiza- 
tion, although, as he notes in his diary, he had come to the 
conclusion that to dramatize a novel was a mistake in art ; 
moreover, that the play ruined the novel and the novel 
the play. However, the result was that the company, self- 
styled "The Hardy Players", produced Tess with such 
unexpected success at Dorchester and Weymouth that it 
was asked for in London, and the following year produced 
there by professional actors for over a hundred nights, 
Miss Gwen Ffrangfon-Davies taking the part of "Tess". 

On the 22nd of October Hardy with his wife visited 
for the first time since his childhood the old barn at the 
back of Kingston Maurward. Here, as a small boy, he 
had listened to village girls singing old ballads. He 
pointed out to his wife the corner where they had sat. He 
looked around at the dusty rafters and the d6bris, con- 
sidering possibly the difference that seventy years had 
made, and his manner as he left the barn was that of one 
who wished he had not endeavoured to revive a scene 
from a distant past. Almost certainly he was the only 
human being left of that once gay party. 

A characteristic note ends Hardy's diary for 1924: 

" December 3 1 . New Year's Eve. Sat up and heard Big 
Ben and the London church bells by wireless ring in the 
New Year/'- 

On this day also he copied a quotation from an essay 
by L. Pearsall Smith* 

"In every representation of Nature which is a work of 
art there is to be found, as Professor Courthope said, 
something which is not to be found in the aspect of Nature 
which it represents ; and what that something is has been 
a matter of dispute from the earliest days of criticism." 

"The same writer adds" 5 notes Hardy, "Better use 


the word 'inspiration' than 'genius 5 for inborn daemonic 
genius as distinct from conscious artistry. " 

(It seems to me it might be called "temperamental 
impulse ", which, of course, must be inborn.) 

Early in January 1925 Hardy sent to the Nineteenth 
Century Magazine a poem entitled, "The Absolute 

In the spring of this year, in connection with Hardy's 
dog " Wessex", an incident occurred which was impossible 
to explain. This dog, a wire-haired terrier, was of great 
intelligence and very friendly to many who visited Max 
Gate, though he had defects of temper, due perhaps to a 
want of thorough training. Among those to whom he 
showed a partiality was Mr. William Watkins, the honor- 
ary secretary to the Society of Dorset Men in London. 

About nine o'clock on the evening of April 18, Mr. 
Watkins called at Max Gate to discuss with Hardy cer- 
tain matters connected with his society. The dog, as was 
his wont, rushed into the hall and greeted his friend with 
vociferous barks. Suddenly these gave way to a piteous 
whine, and the change was so startling that Wessex's 
mistress went to see what had happened. 

Nothing however seemed amiss, and the dog returned 
into the room where Hardy was sitting and where he was 
joined by Mr. Watkins. But even here Wessex seemed ill 
at ease, and from time to time went to the visitor and 
touched his coat solicitously with his paw, which he 
always withdrew giving a sharp cry of distress. 

Mr. Watkins left a little after ten o'clock, apparently 
in very good spirits. Early the next morning there came a 
telephone message from his son to say that the father, 
Hardy's guest of the night before, had died quite sud- 
denly about an hour after his return to the hotel from 
Max Gate. As a rule the dog barked furiously when he 
heard the telephone ring, but on this occasion he re- 
mained silent, his nose between his paws. 

242 LIFE'S DECLINE 1921-25 

On May 26 a letter and a leading article appeared in 
The Times on the subject of a Thomas Hardy Chair of 
Literature and a Wessex University. The letter was 
signed by many eminent writers and educationalists. At 
the date of writing, however, the Chair has not been 

Later in the summer, on July 15, a deputation from 
Bristol University arrived at Max Gate to confer on 
Hardy the honorary degree of Doctor of Literature. This 
was the fifth degree he had received from English and 
Scottish Universities, the others being, in the order in 
which the degrees were bestowed Aberdeen, Cam- 
bridge, Oxford, and St. Andrews. 

At the end of July Hardy sent off the manuscript of 
his volume of poems. Human Shows, to the publishers, 
and a month later he made arrangements for the per- 
formance of his dramatization of Tess at the Barnes 
Theatre. About this time he enters in his notebook : 

"' Truth is what will work", said William James 
(Harpers). A worse corruption of language was never 

Few other events were of interest to him during the 
year. Tess of the d'Urbervilks was produced in London, 
but he felt he had not sufficient strength to go up to see it. 
After nearly two months at Barnes Theatre the play was 
removed on November 2 to the Garrick Theatre, where 
the hundredth performance took place. 

The many pilgrimages Hardy made with his wife to 
Stinsford Church took place usually in the evening during 
the summer, and in the afternoon during the winter. On 
October 9, however, contrary to his usual custom, he 
walked to Stinsford in the morning. The bright sunlight 
shone across the face of a worn tomb whose lettering 
Hardy had often endeavoured to decipher, so that he 
might recarve the letters with his penknife. This day, 
owing to the sunlight, they were able to read ; 



to the memory of 

who departed this life 

December 26th 1819 

Aged 56 years 

Dear friend should you mourn for me 
I am where you soon must be. 

Although Robert Reason had died twenty-one years 
before the birth of the author of Under the Greenwood 
Tree y he was faithfully described in that novel as Mr. 
Penny,, the shoemaker. Hardy having heard so much of 
him from old inhabitants of Bockhampton. He used to 
regret that he had not used the real name, that being 
much better for his purpose than the one he had invented. 

On December 6 the company of players from the 
Garrick Theatre arrived at Max Gate in the evening for 
the purpose of giving a performance of Tess in the draw- 
ing-room. The following description of this incident is 
taken from a letter written by one of the company to a 
correspondent in America who had particularly desired 
her impression of the visit : 

"Mr. and Mrs. Hardy behaved as if it were a most 
usual occurrence for a party of West-End actors to arrive 
laden with huge theatrical baskets of clothes and props. 

"They met us in the hall and entertained us with tea > 
cakes and sandwiches, and Mr. Hardy made a point of 
chatting with everyone. 

"The drawing-room was rather a fortunate shape 
the door facing an alcove at one end of the room, and we 
used these to make our exits and entrances, either exiting 
into the hall or sitting quietly in the alcove. 

"Mr. and Mrs. Hardy, a friend of the Hardys, and 
two maids who, in cap and apron, sat on the floor made 
up our audience. I think I am correct in saying there was 

244 LIFE'S DECLINE 1921-25 

no one else. The room was shaded lamps and firelight 
throwing the necessary light on our faces. 

"'We played the scenes of Tess's home with chairs and 
a tiny drawing-room table to represent farm furniture 
tea-cups for drinking mugs when the chairs and tables 
were removed the corner of the drawing-room became 
Stonehenge, and yet in some strange way those present 
said the play gained from the simplicity. 

" It had seemed as if it would be a paralysingly difficult 
thing to do, to get the atmosphere at all within a few feet 
of the author himself and without any of the usual 
theatrical illusion, but speaking for myself, after the first 
few seconds it was perfectly easy, and Miss Ffranggon- 
Davies's beautiful voice and exquisite playing of the 
Stonehenge scene in the shadows thrown by the firelight 
was a thing that I shall never forget. It was beautiful. 

"Mr. Hardy insisted on talking to us until the last 
minute. He talked of Tess as if she was someone real 
whom he had known and liked tremendously. I think he 
enjoyed the evening. I may be quite wrong, but I got 
the impression that to him it seemed quite a proper and 
usual way to give a play probably as good if not better 
than any other and he seemed to have very little con- 
ception of the unusualness and difficulties it might pre- 
sent to us. 

"The gossip of the country has it that his house was 
designed and the garden laid out with the idea of being 
entirely excluded from the gaze of the curious. Of course 
it was dark when we arrived, but personally I should say 
he had succeeded." 

On December 20 he heard with regret of the death 
of his friend, Sir Hamo Thornycroft, the sculptor, whose 
bronze head of Hardy was presented later to the National 
Portrait Gallery by Lady Thornycroft. 

Siegfried Sassoon, a nephew of Sir Hamo's, hap- 
pened to be paying Hardy a visit at the time. He left to 


go to the funeral of his uncle at Oxford, carrying with 
him a laurel wreath which Hardy had sent to be placed 
on the grave. Hardy had a warm regard for the sculptor, 
whose fine upstanding mien spoke truly of his nobility of 
character. The hours Hardy had spent in Sir Hamo's 
London studio and at his home were pleasant ones, and 
they had cycled together in Dorset while Sir Hamo was 
staying at Max Gate* 

"December 23. Mary's birthday. She came into the 
world . . . and went out . , . and the world is just the 
same . . . not a ripple on the surface left." 

"December 31. New Year's Eve. F. and I sat up. 
Heard on the wireless various features of New Year's Eve 
in London : dancing at the Albert Hall, Big Ben striking 
twelve, singing Auld Lang Syne, God Save the King, 
Marseillaise, hurrahing/' 



igi6-January 1928: Aet. 86-87 

EARLY in January 1926, feeling that his age compelled 
him to such a step, Hardy resigned the Governorship of 
the Dorchester Grammar School. He had always been 
reluctant to hold any public offices,, knowing that he was 
by temperament unfitted to sit on committees that con- 
trolled or ordained the activities of others. He preferred 
to be " the man with the watching eye". 

On April 27, replying to a letter from an Oxford cor- 
respondent, who was one of four who had signed a letter 
to the Manchester Guardian upon the necessity of the 
reformation of the Prayer Book Services, Hardy writes 
from Max Gate : 

"I have read your letter with interest: also the en- 
closure that you and your friends sent to the Manchester 
Guardian^ particularly because, when I was young, I had 
a wish to enter the Church. 

"I am now too old to take up the questions you lay 
open, but I may say that it has seemed to me that a simpler 
plan than that of mental reservation in passages no longer 
literally accepted (which is puzzling to ordinary congrega- 
tions) would be just to abridge the creeds and other prim- 
itive parts of the Liturgy, leaving only the essentials. Un- 
fortunately there appears to be a narrowing instead of a 
broadening tendency among the clergy of late, which if 
persisted in will exclude still more people from Church. 

AET. 86-87 THE LAST SCENE 247 

But if a strong body of young reformers were to make a 
bold stand, in a sort of New Oxford Movement, they 
would have a tremendous backing from the thoughtful 
laity, and might overcome the retrogressive section of the 

"Please don't attach much importance to these casual 
thoughts, and believe me, 

"Very truly yours, 
"T. H." 

In May he received from Mr. Arthur M. Hind a 
water-colour sketch of an attractive corner in the village 
of Minterne, which the artist thought might be the 
original of "Little Hintock" in the Woodlanders. In 
thanking Mr. Hind, Hardy writes : 

"The drawing of the barn that you have been so kind 
as to send me has arrived uninjured, and I thank you 
much for the gift. I think it a charming picture, and a 
characteristic reproduction of that part of Dorset. 

"As to the spot being the 'Little Hintock' of The 
Woodlanders that is another question. You will be sur- 
prised and shocked at my saying that I myself do not 
know where "Little Hintock' is! Several tourists have 
told me that they have found it, in every detail, and 
have offered to take me to it, but I have never gone. 

"However, to be more definite, it has features which 
were to be found fifty years ago in the hamlets of Hermit- 
age, Middlemarsh, Lyons-Gate, Revels Inn, Holnest, Mel- 
bury Bubb, etc. all lying more or less under the eminence 
called High S toy, just beyond Minterne and Dogbury Gate, 
where the country descends into the Vale of Blackmore. 

"The topographers you mention as identifying the 
scene are merely guessers and are wrong. . . ." 

On June 29 he again welcomed the Balliol Players, 
whose chosen play this summer, the Hippolytus of Eurip- 

248 LIFE'S DECLINE 1926-28 

ides, was performed on the lawn of Max Gate. About the 
same time he sent by request a message of congratulation 
and friendship to Weymouth, Massachusetts, by a deputa- 
tion which was then leaving England to visit that town. 

"July 1926. Note. It appears that the theory ex- 
hibited in The Well-Beloved in 1892 has been since de- 
veloped by Proust still further : 

"Peu de personnes comprennent le caractere purement 
subjectif du phenomene qu'est F amour, et la sorte de 
creation que c'est d'une personne supplemental, dis- 
tincte de celle qui porte le meme nom dans le monde, et 
dont la plupart des elements sont tires de nous-memes." 
(Ombre, i. 40.) 

"Le desir s'eleve, se satisfait, disparait et c'est tout. 
Ainsi, la jeune fille qu'on epouse n'est pas celle dont on 
est tombe amoureux." (Ombre, ii. 158, 159.) 

On September 8 a dramatization of The Mayor of 
Casterbridge by Mr. John Drinkwater was produced at the 
Barnes Theatre, and on the 2oth the play was brought to 
Weymouth, where Hardy went to see it. He received a 
great ovation in the theatre, and also, on his return to 
Max Gate, from an enthusiastic crowd that collected 
round the Pavilion Theatre on the pier. From balconies 
and windows people were seen waving handkerchiefs as 
he drove past. In his diary he notes : 

" 20 September. Performance of Mayor of Casterbridge 
at Weymouth by London Company, a "flying matin6e/ 
Beautiful afternoon, scene outside the theatre finer than 

Writing to a friend about a proposed dramatization of 
Jude the Obscure, he observes : 

"I may say that I am not keen on the new mode (as I 
suppose it is regarded, though really Elizabethan) of giv- 
ing a series of episodes in the film manner instead of set 

AET. 86-87 THE LAST SCENE 249 

"Of the outlines I sent you which suggested them- 
selves to me many years ago, I thought the one I called 
(I think) *4th Scheme' most feasible. 

"Would not Arabella be the villain of the piece ? or 
Jude's personal constitution ? so far as there is any 
villain more than blind Chance. Christminster is of 
course the tragic influence of Jude's drama in one sense, 
but innocently so, and merely as crass obstruction. By 
the way it is not meant to be exclusively Oxford, but any 
old-fashioned University about the date of the story, 
1860-70, before there were such chances for poor men as 
there are now. I have somewhere printed that I had no 
feeling against Oxford in particular." 

A few days later he visited Mrs. Bankes at Kingston 
Lacy in Dorset, and was greatly interested in the priceless 
collection of pictures shown him. Of this occasion he writes : 

" End of September. With F. on a visit to Mrs. Bankes 
at Kingston Lacy. She told me an amusing story when 
showing me a letter to Sir John Bankes from Charles the 
First, acknowledging that he had borrowed 500 from Sir 
John. Many years ago when she was showing the same 
letter to King Edward, who was much interested in it, she 
said, 'Perhaps, Sir, that's a little matter which could now 
be set right'. He replied quickly, * Statute of Limitations, 
Statute of Limitations'/' 

Another note : 

" i November. Went with Mr. Hanbury to Bockhamp- 
ton and looked at fencing, trees, etc., with a view to 
tidying and secluding the Hardy house." 

That was his last visit to the place of his birth. It 
was always a matter of regret to him if he saw this abode 
in a state of neglect, or the garden uncherished. 

During this month, November, his friend, Colonel 
T. E. Lawrence, called to say good-bye, before starting for 
India. Hardy was much affected by this parting, as T. E. 

250 LIFE'S DECLINE 1926-28 

Lawrence was one of his most valued friends. He went 
into the little porch and stood at the front door to see the 
departure of Lawrence on his motor-bicycle. This machine 
was difficult to start, and, thinking he might have to wait 
some time Hardy turned into the house to fetch a shawl 
to wrap round him. In the meantime, fearing that Hardy 
might take a chill> Lawrence started the motor-bicycle and 
hurried away. Returning a few moments after, Hardy was 
grieved that he had not seen the actual departure, and 
said that he had particularly wished to see Lawrence go. 

The sight of animals being taken to market or driven 
to slaughter always aroused in Hardy feelings of intense 
pity> as he well knew, as must anyone living in or near a 
market-town, how much needless suffering is inflicted. In 
his notebook at this time he writes : 

"December (ist Week). Walking with F. by railway, 
saw bullocks and cows going to Islington (?) for slaughter," 
Under this he drew a little pencil sketch of the rows of 
trucks as they were seen by him^ with animals' heads at 
every opening,} looking out at the green countryside they 
were leaving for scenes of horror in a far-off city. Hardy 
thought of this sight for long after. It was found in his 
will that he had left a sum of money to each of two 
societies "to be applied so far as practicable to the in- 
vestigation of the means by which animals are conveyed 
from their houses to the slaughter-houses with a view to 
the lessening of their sufferings in such transit". 

The year drew quietly to an end. On the 23rd of 
December a band of carol-singers from St. Peter's, Dor- 
chester, came to Max Gate and sang to Hardy "While 
Shepherds Watched" to the tune which used to be 
played by his father and grandfather, a copy of which he 
had given to the Rector. 

A sadness fell upon the household, for Hardy's dog, 
Wessex, now thirteen years old> was ill and obviously near 
his end. 

, 86-87 THE LAST SCENE 251 

Two days after Christmas day Hardy makes this entry : 

"17 December. Our famous dog 'Wessex' died at -J 
past 6 in the evening, thirteen years of age/' 

"28. Wessex buried." 

"28. Night. Wessex sleeps outside the house the first 
time for thirteen years." 

The dog lies in a small turfed grave in the shrubbery 
on the west side of Max Gate > where also were buried 
several pet cats and one other dog. Moss. On the head- 
stone is this inscription drawn up by Hardy, and carved 
from his design : 



August 1913-27 Dec. 1926 
Faithful. Unflinching. 

There were those among Hardy's friends who thought 
that his life was definitely saddened by the loss of Wessex,, 
the dog having been the companion of himself and his 
wife during twelve years of married life. Upon summer 
evenings or winter afternoons Wessex would walk with 
them up the grassy slope in the field in front of their house, 
to the stile that led into Came Plantation, and while 
Hardy rested on the stile the dog would sit on the ground 
and survey the view as his master was doing. On Frome 
Hill when his companions sat on the green bank by the 
roadside, or on the barrow that crowns the hill, he would 
lie in the grass at their feet and gaze at the landscape, 
"as if," to quote Hardy's oft repeated comment on this, 
"it were the right thing to do". 

Those were happy innocent hours. A poem written 
after the dog's death, "Dead Wessex, the dog to the 
household", well illustrates Hardy's sense of loss. Two of 
its verses are : 

252 LIFE'S DECLINE 1926-28 

Do you look for me at times, 

Wistful ones ? 
Do you look for me at times 

Strained and still ? 
Do you look for me at times, 
When the hour for walking chimes, 
On that grassy path that climbs 

Up the hill ? 

You may hear a jump or trot, 

Wistful ones, 
You may hear a jump or trot 

Mine, as 'twere 
You may hear a jump or trot 
On the stair or path or plot ; 
But I shall cause it not, 

Be not there. 

On December 29 Hardy wrote to his friends, Mr. and 
Mrs. Granville-Barker, from Max Gate : 

"... This is intended to be a New Year's letter, but 
I don't know if I have made a good shot at it. How kind 
of you to thinkof sending me Raymond Guyot's Napoleon. 
I have only glanced at it, at the text that is, as yet, but 
what an interesting collection of records bearing on the 
life of the man who finished the Revolution with 'a whiff 
of grapeshot*, and so crushed not only its final horrors but 
all the worthy aspirations of its earlier time, made them 
as if they had never been, and threw back human altru- 
ism scores, perhaps hundreds of years." 

"31 December. New Year's Eve. Did not sit up/' 

In January 1927 "A Philosophical Fantasy" appeared 
in the Fortnightly Review. Hardy liked the year to open 
with a poem of this type from him in some leading review 
or newspaper. The quotation at the heading, "Milton 
. . . made God argue", gives the keynote, and the phi- 
losophy is much as he had set forth before, but still a ray 
of hope is shown for the future of mankind. 

AET. 86-87 THE LAST SCENE 253 

Aye, to human tribes nor kindlessness 
Nor love Fve given, but mindlessness, 
Which state, though far from ending, 
May nevertheless be mending. 

Weeks passed through a cold spring and Hardy's 
eighty-seventh birthday was reached. This year, instead 
of remaining at Max Gate, he motored with his wife to 
Netherton Hall in Devonshire, to spend a part of the day 
with friends, Helen and Harley Granville-Barker. In a 
letter written some months later, Mrs. Granville-Barker 
describes this visit. 

". . . There were no guests, just the peaceful routine 
of everyday life, for that last birthday here. Mr. Hardy 
said to you afterwards, you told me, that he thought it 
might be the last, but at the time he was not in any way 
sad or unlike himself. He noticed, as always, and unlike 
most old people, the smallest things. At luncheon, I re- 
member, one of the lace doilies at his place got awry in an 
ugly way, showing the mat underneath, and I saw him, 
quietly and with the most delicate accuracy, setting it 
straight again all the time taking his part in the talk. 

"Wasn't it that day he said, speaking of Augustus 
John's portrait of him : 

"'I don't know whether that is how I look or not 
but that is how I feel' ? 

"In the afternoon we left him alone in the library 
because we thought he wanted to rest a little. It was 
cold, for June, and a wood fire was lighted. 

"Once we peeped in at him through the garden 
window. He was not askep but sitting, walled in with 
books, staring into the fire with that deep look of his. 
The cat had established itself on his knees and he was 
stroking it gently, but half-unconsciously. 

" It was a wonderful picture of him. I shall not forget 
it. Nor shall I forget the gay and startlingly youthful 

254 LIFE'S DECLINE 1926-28 

gesture with which he flourished his hat towards us as, 
once in the motor car, later that afternoon, he drove away 
from us." 

At the end of the day he seemed in a sad mood, and his 
wife sought to amuse him by a forecast of small festivities 
she had planned for his ninetieth birthday, which she 
assured him would be a great occasion. With a flash of 
gaiety he replied that he intended to spend that day in bed. 

Once again the Balliol Players appeared at Max Gate, 
this year on July 6. As before, their visit gave Hardy con- 
siderable pleasure, and after their performance on the 
lawn of Iphigenia in Aulis he talked with them freely, 
appreciating their boyish ardour and their modesty. 

A few days later he received visits from his friends, 
Siegfried Sassoon, and Mr. and Mrs. John Masefield, 
and on July 21 he laid the foundation stone of the new 
building of the Dorchester Grammar School, which was 
to be seen clearly from the front gate of his house, looking 
towards the Hardy Monument, a noticeable object on the 
sky-line, to the south-west. It was Hardy's custom nearly 
every fine morning after breakfast in the summer to walk 
down to the gate to see what the weather was likely to be 
by observing this tower in the distance. 

The day chosen for the stone-laying was cold and 
windy, by no means a suitable day for a man of Hardy's 
advanced years to stand in the open air bareheaded. 
Nevertheless he performed his task with great vigour, 
and gave the following address in a clear resonant voice 
that could be heard on the outskirts of the crowd that 
collected to hear him : 

"I have been asked to execute the formal part of to- 
day's function, which has now been done, and it is not 
really necessary that I should add anything to the few 
words that are accustomed to be used at the laying of 
foundation or dedication stones. But as the circumstances 

AET. 86-87 THE LAST SCENE 255 

of the present case are somewhat peculiar, I will just en- 
large upon them for a minute or two. What I have to say 
is mainly concerning the Elizabethan philanthropist, 
Thomas Hardy, who, with some encouragement from the 
burgesses, endowed and rebuilt this ancient school after 
its first humble shape him whose namesake I have the 
honour to be, and whose monument stands in the church 
of St. Peter, visible from this spot. The well-known epi- 
taph inscribed upon his tablet, unlike many epitaphs, does 
not, I am inclined to think, exaggerate his virtues, since it 
was written, not by his relatives or dependents, but by 
the free burgesses of Dorchester in gratitude for his good 
action towards the town. This good deed was accom- 
plished in the latter part of the sixteenth century, and the 
substantial stone building in which it merged eventually, 
still stands to dignify South Street, as we all know, and 
hope it may remain there. 

" But what we know very little about is the personality 
of this first recorded Thomas Hardy of the Froome Valley 
here at our back, though his work abides. He was without 
doubt of the family of the Hardys who landed in this 
county from Jersey in the fifteenth century, acquired 
small estates along the river upwards towards its source, 
and whose descendants have mostly remained hereabouts 
ever since, the Christian name of Thomas having been 
especially affected by them. He died in 1599, and it is 
curious to think that though he must have had a modern 
love of learning not common in a remote county in those 
days, Shakespeare's name could hardly have been known 
to him, or at the most vaguely as that of a certain 
ingenious Mr. Shakespeare who amused the London 
playgoers ; and that he died before Milton was born. 

"In Carlylean phraseology, what manner of man he 
was when he walked this earth, we can but guess, or what 
he looked like, what he said and did in his lighter moments 
and at what age he died. But we may shrewdly conceive 

256 LIFE'S DECLINE 1926-28 

that he was a far-sighted man, and would not be much 
surprised, if he were to revisit the daylight, to find that 
his building had been outgrown, and no longer supplied 
the needs of the present inhabitants for the due education 
of their sons. His next feeling might be to rejoice in the 
development of what was possibly an original design of 
his own, and to wish the reconstruction every success. 

"We living ones all do that, and nobody more than I, 
my retirement from the Governing body having been 
necessitated by old age only. Certainly everything prom- 
ises well. The site can hardly be surpassed in England for 
health, with its open surroundings, elevated and bracing 
situation, and dry subsoil, while it is near enough to the 
sea to get very distinct whiffs of marine air. Moreover, it 
is not so far from the centre of the borough as to be 
beyond the walking powers of the smallest boy. It has 
a capable headmaster, holding every modern idea on 
education within the limits of good judgement, and 
assistant masters well equipped for their labours, which 
are not sinecures in these days. 

"I will conclude by thanking the Governors and 
other friends for their kind thought in asking me to 
undertake this formal initiation of the new building, 
which marks such an interesting stage in the history of 
the Dorchester Grammar School." 

After the ceremony, having spoken to a few friends, 
Hardy went away without waiting for the social gathering 
that followed. He was very tired, and when he reached 
home he said that he had made his last public appearance. 

There seemed no ill after-effects, however, and on 
August 9 Hardy drove with Gustav Hoist to "Egdon 
Heath'*, just then purple with heather. They then went 
on to Puddletown and entered the fine old church, and 
both climbed up into the gallery, where probably some of 
Hardy's ancestors had sat in the choir, more than a 
century earlier* 

. 86-87 THE LAST SCENE 257' 

On August 8 he wrote to Mr. J. B. Priestley : 
"... I send my sincere thanks for your kind gift of 
the 'George Meredith' book, and should have done so 
before if I had not fallen into the sere, and weak eyesight 
did not trouble me. I have read your essay, or rather 
have had it read to me, and have been much interested in 
the bright writing of one in whom I had already fancied 
I discerned a coming force in letters. 

"I am not at all a critic, especially of a critic, and 
when the author he reviews is a man who was,! off and on, 
a friend of mine for forty years ; but it seems to me that 
you hold the scales very fairly. Meredith was, as you 
recognize, and might have insisted on even more strongly, 
and I always felt, in the direct succession of Congreve and 
the artificial comedians of the Restoration, and in getting 
his brilliancy we must put up with the fact that he would 
not, or could not at any rate did not when aiming to 
represent the 'Comic Spirit', let himself discover the 
tragedy that always underlies Comedy if you only scratch 
it deeply enough. " 

During the same month Hardy and his wife motored 
to Bath and back. On the way they had lunch sitting on a 
grassy bank, as they had done in former years, to Hardy's 
pleasure. But now a curious sadness brooded over them ; 
lunching in the open air had lost its charm, and they did 
not attempt another picnic of this kind. 

In Bath Hardy walked about and looked long and 
silently at various places that seemed to have an interest 
for him. He seemed like a ghost revisiting scenes of a long- 
dead past. After a considerable rest in the Pump Room 
they returned home. Hardy did not seem tired by this 

Some weeks later they motored to Ilminster, a little 
country town that Hardy had long desired to visit. He 
was interested in the Church, and also in the tomb of the 

258 LIFE'S DECLINE 1926-28 

founder of Wadham College therein. By his wish, on their 
return, they drove past the quarries where Ham Hill 
stone was cut. 

Stopping at Yeovil they had tea in a restaurant, where 
a band of some three musicians were playing. One of 
Hardy's most attractive characteristics was his ability to 
be interested in simple things, and before leaving he stood 
and listened appreciatively to the music, saying after- 
wards what a delightful episode that had been, 

On September 6, an exceedingly wet day, Mr. and 
Mrs. John Galsworthy called on their way to London. 
During the visit Hardy told them the story of a murder 
that had happened eighty years before. Mr. Galsworthy 
seemed struck by these memories of Hardy's early child- 
hood, and asked whether he had always remembered 
those days so vividly, or only lately. Hardy replied that 
he had always remembered clearly. He could recall what 
his mother had said about the Rush murder when he was 
about the age of six: "The governess hanged him." He 
was puzzled, and wondered how a governess could hang 
a man. Mr. and Mrs. Galsworthy thought that Hardy 
seemed better than when they saw him last, better, in 
fact, than they had ever seen him. 

September 7 being a gloriously fine day, Hardy with 
his wife walked across the fields opposite Max Gate to see 
the building of the new Grammar School, then in progress. 

During September Hardy was revising and re-arrang- 
ing the Selected Poems in the Golden Treasury Series in 
readiness for a new edition. The last entry but one in his 
notebook refers to the sending of the copy to the pub- 
lishers, and finally, on the igth of September, he notes 
that Mr. Weld of Lulworth Castle called with some 
friends. After this no more is written, but a few notes 
were made by his wife for the remaining weeks of 1927. 

About the 2ist of September they drove to Lulworth 
Castle to lunch with Mr. and Mrs. Weld and a house- 

86-87 THE LAST SCENE 259 

party, and Hardy was much interested In all that he was 
shown in the Castle and in the adjoining church. A few 
weeks later he and his wife lunched at Charborough Park, 
the scene of Two on a Tower > the first time he had entered 
this house. 


"October 24. A glorious day, T. and I walked across 
the field in front of Max Gate towards Came. We both 
stood on a little flat stone sunk in the path that we call 
our wishing stone, and I wished. T. may have done so, 
but he did not say. 

"On the way he gathered up some waste paper that 
was blowing about the lane at the side of our house and 
buried it in the hedge with his stick, and going up the 
path to Came he stopped for quite a long time to pull off 
the branches of a tree a heap of dead weeds that had been 
thrown there by some untidy labourer who had been 
cleaning the field. He says that a man has no public spirit 
who passes by any untidiness out of doors, litter of paper 
or similar rubbish/' 

"October 27. During the evening he spoke of an ex- 
perience he had a few years ago. There were four or five 
people to tea at Max Gate, and he noticed a stranger 
standing by me most of the time. Afterwards he asked 
who that dark man was who stood by me. I told him that 
there was no stranger present, and I gave him the names 
of the three men who were there, all personal friends. He 
said that it was not one of these, and seemed to think that 
another person had actually been there. This afternoon 
he said : * I can see his face now. ' 

" Later in the evening, during a terrific gale, I said 
that I did not wonder that some people disliked going 
along the dark road outside our house at night. 

"T. replied that for twelve years he walked back- 
wards and forwards from Bockhampton to Dorchester 

260 LIFE'S DECLINE 1926-28 

often in the dark, and he was only frightened twice. Once 
was when he was going up Stinsford Hill, no habitation of 
any sort being in sight, and he came upon two men sitting 
on chairs, one on either side of the road. By the moon- 
light he saw that they were strangers to him ; terrified, he 
took to his heels ; he never heard who they were or any- 
thing to explain the incident. 

"The other time was when, as a small boy walking 
home from school, reading Pilgrim 's Progress, he was so 
alarmed by the description of Apollyon that he hastily 
closed his book and went on his way trembling, thinking 
that Apollyon was going to spring out of a tree whose dark 
branches overhung the road. He remembered his terror 
he said, that evening, seventy-five years afterwards." 

"October 30. At lunch T. H. talked about Severn, 
speaking with admiration of his friendship towards Keats. 
He said that it must have been quite disinterested, as 
Keats was then comparatively obscure." 

"October 31. Henry Williamson, the author of Tarka 
the Otter, called." 

"November 3. While he was having tea to-day, T. H. 
said that whenever he heard any music from // Trovatore, 
it carried him back to the first year when he was in 
London and when he was strong and vigorous and 
enjoyed his life immensely. He thought that // Trovatore 
was good music." 

"November 4. We drove in the afternoon to Stins- 
ford, to put flowers on the family graves. The tombs are 
very green, being covered with moss because they are 
under a yew-tree. T. H. scraped off most of the moss with 
a little wooden implement like a toy spade, six inches in 
length, which he made with his own hands and which he 
carries in his pocket when he goes to Stinsford. He re- 
marked that Walter de la Mare had told him that he 
preferred to see the gravestones green. 

"Then we drove to Talbothays (his brother's house). 

AET. 86-87 THE LAST SCENE 261 

As we turned up Dark Hill, T. H. pointed out the place 
where, as a small boy, he had left an umbrella in the 
hedge, having put it down while he cut a stick. He did not 
remember it until he reached home and his mother asked 
him where was his umbrella. As he went to school next 
morning he looked in the hedge and found it where he 
had left it. 

"After having been with H. H. and K. H. (the brother 
and sister) for half an hour we returned home/' 

Thus ended a series of visits paid regularly to his 
family extending over forty years. While his parents were 
alive, Hardy went to see them at Bockhampton nearly 
every Sunday afternoon when he was in Dorchester, walk- 
ing at first, then cycling. After his mother's death he 
visited his two sisters and his brother at Bockhampton, 
and later at Talbothays, to which house they moved in 
1912. These visits continued until the last year or two of 
his life, when he was unable to go very often. He cycled 
there in fine weather until he was over eighty, and then he 
walked, until the distance seemed beyond his powers. 
Stinsford was a favourite haunt until the last few months 
of his life, the walk there from Max Gate, across the 
water-meadows, being a particularly beautiful one ; and 
the churchyard, to him, the most hallowed spot on earth. 

"November 4 continued. At tea T. H* said that he had 
been pleased to read that day an article by the composer, 
Miss Ethel Smyth, saying that // Trovatore was good 
music. He reminded me of what he said yesterday." 

"November n. Armistice Day. T. came downstairs 
from his study and listened to the broadcasting of a serv- 
ice at Canterbury Cathedral. We stood there for the two 
minutes* silence. He said afterwards that he had been 
thinking of Frank George, his cousin, who was killed at 

" In the afternoon we took one of our usual little walks, 
around 'the triangle' as we call it, that is down the lane 

262 LIFE'S DECLINE 1926-28 

by the side of our house, and along the cinder-path beside 
the railway line. We stood and watched a goods train 
carrying away huge blocks of Portland stone as we have 
done so many times. He seems never tired of watching 
these stone-laden trucks. He said he thought that the 
shape of Portland would be changed in the course of years 
by the continual cutting away of its surface. 

"Sitting by the fire after tea he told me about various 
families of poachers he had known as a boy, and how, 
when a thatched house at Bockhampton was pulled down, a 
pair of swingels was found under the thatch. This was an 
instrument of defense used by poachers, and capable of 
killing a man. 1 

"He said that if he had his life over again he would 
prefer to be a small architect in a country town, like 
Mr. Hicks at Dorchester, to whom he was articled." 

"November 17. To-day T. H. was speaking, and evi- 
dently thinking a great deal, about a friend, a year or two 
older than himself, who was a fellow-pupil at Mr. Hicks's 
office. I felt, as he talked, that he would like to meet this 
man again more than anyone in the world. He is in Aus- 
tralia now, if alive, and must be nearly ninety. His name 
is Henry Robert Bastow ; he was a Baptist and evidently 
a very religious youth, and T. H. was devoted to him. I 
suggested that we might find out something about him by 
sending an advertisement to Australian newspapers, but 
T. H. thought that would not be wise," 

" Sunday ) November 27. The fifteenth anniversary of 
the death of Emma Lavinia Hardy ; Thursday was the 
anniversary of the death of Mary, his elder sister. For 
two or three days he has been wearing a black hat as a 
token of mourning, and carries a black walking-stick that 
belonged to his first wife, all strangely moving. 

1 Poachers' iron swingels. A strip of iron ran down three or four sides 
of the flail part, and the two flails were united by three or four links of 
chain, the keepers carrying cutlasses which would cut oflf the ordinary 
eel-skin hinge of a flail. From T, H*s notebook, Dec. 1884. 


Jh &< 




U t 

l ***** 

Facsimile reproduction from page of original MS. of " Winter Words" 

written 1927. 

AET. 86-87 THE LAST SCENE 263 

"T, EL has been writing almost all the day, revising 
poems. When he came down to tea he brought one to 
show me, about a desolate spring morning,, and a shepherd 
counting his sheep and not noticing the weather." This is 
the poem in Pointer Words called "An Unkindly May". 

"November 28. Speaking about ambition T. said to- 
day that he had done all that he meant to do, but he did 
not know whether it had been worth doing. 

"His only ambition, so far as he could remember, was 
to have some poem or poems in a good anthology like the 
Golden Treasury. 

"The model he had set before him was 'Drink to me 
only', by Ben Jonson." 

The earliest recollection of his childhood (as he had 
told me before) was that when he was four years old his 
father gave him a small toy concertina and wrote on it, 
"Thomas Hardy, 1844". By this inscription he knew, in 
after years, his age when that happened. 

Also he remembered, perhaps a little later than this, 
being in the garden at Bockhampton with his father on a 
bitterly cold winter day. They noticed a field-fare, half- 
frozen, and the father took up a stone idly and threw it at 
the bird, possibly not meaning to hit it. The field-fare 
fell dead, and the child Thomas picked it up and it was as 
light as a feather, all skin and bone, practically starved. 
He said he had never forgotten how the body of the field- 
fare felt in his hand : the memory had always haunted 

He recalled how, crossing the ewe-leaze when a child, 
he went on hands and knees and pretended to eat grass in 
order to see what the sheep would do. Presently he 
looked up and found them gathered around in a close 
ring, gazing at him with astonished faces. 

An illness, which at the commencement did not seem 
to be serious, began on December n. On the morning 

264 LIFE'S DECLINE 1926-28 

of that day he sat at the writing-table in his study, and 
felt totally unable to work. This, he said, was the first 
time that such a thing had happened to him. 

From then his strength waned daily. He was anx- 
ious that a poem he had written, "Christmas in the Elgin 
Room" should be copied and sent to The Times. This was 
done, and he asked his wife anxiously whether she had 
posted it with her own hands. When she assured him 
that she had done so he seemed content, and said he was 
glad that he had cleared everything up. Two days later 
he received a personal letter of thanks, with a warm 
appreciation of his work, from the editor of The Times. 
This gave him pleasure, and he asked that a reply should 
be sent. 

He continued to come downstairs to sit for a few hours 
daily, until Christmas day. After that he came down- 
stairs no more. 

On December 26 he said that he had been thinking 
of the Nativity and of the Massacre of the Innocents, and 
his wife read to him the gospel accounts, and also articles 
in the Encyclopedia Biblica* He remarked that there was 
not a grain of evidence that the gospel story was true in 
any detail. 

As the year ended a window in the dressing-room 
adjoining his bedroom was opened that he might hear the 
bells, as that had always pleased him. But now he said 
that he could not hear them, and did not seem interested. 
His strength still failed. The weather was bitterly 
cold, and snow had fallen heavily, being twelve inches 
deep in parts of the garden. In the road outside there were 
snowdrifts that in places would reach a man 's waist. 

By desire of the local practitioner additional advice 
was called in, and Hardy's friend, Sir Henry Head, who 
was living in the neighbourhood, made invaluable sugges- 
tions and kept a watchful eye upon the case. But the 
weakness increased daily. 

AET. 86-87 THE LAST SCENE 265 

He could no longer listen to the reading of prose, 
though a short poem now and again interested him* In 
the middle of one night he asked his wife to read aloud 
to him "The Listeners ", by Walter de la Mare. 

On January 10 he made a strong rally, and although 
he was implored not to do so he insisted upon writing a 
cheque for his subscription to the Pension Fund of the 
Society of Authors. For the first time in his life he made 
a slightly feeble signature, unlike his usual beautiful firm 
handwriting, and then he laid down his pen. 

Later he was interested to learn that J. M. Barrie, his 
friend of many years, had arrived from London to assist 
in any way that might be possible. He was amused when 
told that this visitor had gone to the kitchen door to 
avoid any disturbance by ringing the front door bell. 

In the evening he asked that Robert Browning's 
poem, " Rabbi Ben Ezra", should be read aloud to him- 
While reading it his wife glanced at his face to see whether 
he were tired, the poem being a long one of thirty-two 
stanzas, and she was struck by the look of wistful intent- 
ness with which Hardy was listening. He indicated that 
he wished to hear the poem to the end. 

He had a better night, and in the morning of January 
1 1 seemed so much stronger that one at least of those who 
watched beside him had confident hopes of his recovery, 
and an atmosphere of joy prevailed in the sickroom. 
An immense bunch of grapes arrived from London, sent 
by a friend, and this aroused in Hardy great interest. 
As a rule he disliked receiving gifts, but on this occasion 
he showed an almost childlike pleasure, and insisted 
upon the grapes being held up for the inspection of the 
doctor, and whoever came in the room. He ate some, and 
said quite gaily, "I'm going on with these". Everything 
he had that day in the way of food or drink he seemed 
to appreciate keenly, though naturally he took but 
little. As it grew dusk, after a long musing silence, he 

a66 LIFE'S DECLINE 19*6-28 

asked his wife to repeat to him a verse from the Rubdiydt 
of Omar Khayyam, beginning 

Oh, Thou, who man of baser Earth 

She took his copy of this work from his bedside and read 

to him : 

Oh, Thou, who man of baser Earth didst make. 
And ev'n with Paradise devise the Snake : 

For all the Sin wherewith the Face of Man * 
Is blacken'd Man's forgiveness give and take ! 

He indicated that he wished no more to be read. 

In the evening he had a sharp heart attack of a kind 
he had never had before. The doctor was summoned and 
came quickly, joining Mrs. Hardy at the bedside. Hardy 
remained conscious until a few minutes before the end. 
Shortly after nine he died. 

An hour later one, going to his bedside yet again, saw 
on the death-face an expression such as she had never 
seen before on any being, or indeed on any presentment 
of the human countenance. It was a look of radiant 
triumph such as imagination could never have conceived. 
Later the first radiance passed away, but dignity and 
peace remained as long as eyes could see the mortal 
features of Thomas Hardy. 

The dawn of the following day rose in almost un- 
paralleled splendour. Flaming and magnificent the sky 
stretched its banners over the dark pines that stood 
sentinel around. 



ON the morning of Thursday, January 12, the Dean of 
Westminster readily gave his consent to a proposal that 
Hardy should be buried in Westminster Abbey ; and news 
of this proposal and its acceptance was sent to Max Gate. 
There it was well known that Hardy's own wish was to be 
buried at Stinsford, amid the graves of his ancestors and 
of his first wife. After much consideration a compromise 
was found between this definite personal wish and the 
nation 's claim to the ashes of the great poet. On Friday, 
January 13, his heart was taken out of his body and 
placed by itself in a casket* On Saturday, January 14, 
the body was sent to Woking for cremation, and thence 
the ashes were taken the same day to Westminster Abbey 
and placed in the Chapel of St. Faith to await interment. 
On Sunday, January 15, the casket containing the heart 
was taken to the church at Stinsford, where it was laid 
on the altar steps. 

At two o'clock on Monday, January 16, there were 
three services in three different churches. In Westminster 
Abbey the poet's wife and sister were the chief mourners, 
while in the presence of a great crowd, which included 
representatives of the King and other members of the 
Royal Family, and of many learned and other societies, 
the ashes of Thomas Hardy were buried with stately 
ceremonial in Poet's Corner. The pall-bearers were the 
Prime Minister (Mr. Stanley Baldwin) and Mr. Ramsay 
MacDonald, representing the Government and Parlia- 
ment ; Sir James Barrie, Mr. John Galsworthy, Sir Ed- 



mund Gosse, Professor A. E. Housman, Mr. Rudyard 
Kipling, and Mr. Bernard Shaw, representing literature ; 
and the Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge (Mr. 
A. S. Ramsey), and the Pro-Provost of Queen's College, 
Oxford (Dr. E. M. Walker), representing the Colleges of 
which Hardy was an honorary Fellow. A spadeful of 
Dorset earth, sent by a Dorset farm labourer, Mr. Chris- 
topher Corbin, was sprinkled on the casket. In spite of 
the cold and wet the streets about the Abbey were full of 
people who had been unable to obtain admission to the 
service, but came as near as they might to taking part in 
it. At the same hour at Stinsford, where Hardy was bap- 
tized, and where as boy and man he had often worshipped, 
his brother, Mr. Henry Hardy, was the chief mourner, 
while, in the presence of a rural population, the heart of 
this lover of rural Wessex was buried in the grave of his 
first wife among the Hardy tombs under the great yew- 
tree in the corner of the churchyard. And in Dorchester 
all business was suspended for an hour, while at St. 
Peter's Church the Mayor and Corporation and many 
other dignitaries and societies attended a memorial 
service in which the whole neighbourhood joined. 

H. C. 




Dec. 21, 1914. 

I have read with much interest the lecture on The 
Longest Price of War that you kindly send : and its 
perusal does not diminish the gloom with which this 
ghastly business on the Continent fills me, as it fills so 
many. The argument would seem to favour Conscription, 
since the inert, if not the unhealthy, would be taken, 
I imagine. 

Your visits to The Dynasts show that, as Granville- 
Barker foretold, thoughtful people would care about it. 
My own opinion when I saw it was that it was the only 
sort of thing likely to take persons of musing turn into a 
theatre at this time. 

I have not read M. Bergson's book, and if you should 
not find it troublesome to send your copy as you suggest, 
please do. 

The theory of the Prime Force that I used in The 
"Dynasts was published in Jan. 1904. The nature of the 
determination embraced in the theory is that of a collec- 
tive will ; so that there is a proportion of the total will in 
each part of the whole, and each part has therefore, in 
strictness, some freedom, which would, in fact, be opera- 



tive as such whenever the remaining great mass of will in 
the universe should happen to be in equilibrium. 

However, as the work is intended to be a poetic drama 
and not a philosophic treatise I did not feel bound to 
develop this. 

The assumption of unconsciousness in the driving 
force is, of course, not new. But I think the view of the 
unconscious force as gradually becoming conscious: i.e. 
that consciousness is creeping further and further back 
towards the origin of force, had never (so far as I know) 
been advanced before The Dynasts appeared. But being 
only a mere impressionist I must not pretend to be a 
philosopher in a letter, and ask you to believe me, 
Sincerely yours, 


Dr. Saleeby. 

Feb. 2, 1915. 


Your activities are unlimited. I should like to hear your 
address on "Our War for International Law". Personally 
I feel rather disheartened when I think it probable that 
the war will end by sheer exhaustion of the combatants, 
and that things will be left much as they were before. 
But I hope not. 

I have been now and then dipping into your Bergson, 
and shall be returning the volume soon. I suppose I may 
assume that you are more or less disciple, or fellow- 
philosopher, of his. Therefore you may be rather shocked 


by some views I hold about his teachings if I may 
say I hold any views about anything whatever, which I 
hardly do. 

His theories are certainly much more delightful than 
those they contest, and I for one would gladly believe 
them, but I cannot help feeling all the time that he is 
rather an imaginative and poetical writer than a reasoner, 
and that for his attractive assertions he does not adduce 
any proofs whatever. His use of the word "creation'* 
seems loose to me. Then, as to "conduct". I fail to see 
how, if it is not mechanism, it can be other than Caprice, 
though he denies it (p. 50). And he says that Mechanism 
and Finalism (I agree with him as to Finalism) are only 
external views of our conduct. 

"Our conduct extends between them, and slips much 
further." Well, I hope it may, but he nowhere shows that 
it does. And again: "a mechanistic conception . . . 
treats the living as the inert. . . . Let us on the contrary, 
trace a line of demarcation between the inert and the 
living (208)." Well, let us, to our great pleasure, if we can 
see why we should introduce an inconsistent rupture of 
order into uniform and consistent laws of the same. 

You will see how much I want to be a Bergsonian 
(indeed I have for many years). But I fear that his phi- 
losophy is, in the bulk, only our old friend Dualism in a 
new suit of clothes an ingenious fancy without real 
foundation, and more complicated, and therefore less 
likely than the determinist fancy and others that he 
endeavours to overthrow. 

You must not think me a hard-hearted rationalist for 
all this. Half my time (particularly when I write verse) I 
believe in the modern use of the word not only in 
things that Bergson does, but in spectres, mysterious 
voices, intuitions, omens, dreams, haunted places, etc., etc. 

But then, I do not believe in these in the old sense of 
belief any more for that ; and in arguing against Bergson- 


ism I have, of course, meant belief in its old sense when 
I aver myself incredulous. 

Sincerely yours, 





My thanks for the revised form of The Longest Price 
of War, which I am reading. 


I am returning, or shall be in a day or two, your 
volume of Bergson. It is most interesting reading, and 
one likes to give way to its views and assurances without 
criticizing them. 

If however we ask for reasons and proof (which I don't 
care to do) I am afraid we do not get them. 

An Slan vital by which I understand him to mean a 
sort of additional and spiritual force, beyond the merely 
unconscious push of life the "will" of other philoso- 
phers that propels growth and development seems 
much less probable than single and simple determinism, 
or what he calls mechanism, because it is more complex : 
and where proof is impossible probability must be our 
guide. His partly mechanistic and partly creative theory 
seems to me clumsy and confused. 

He speaks of " the enormous gap that separates even 
the lowest form of life from the inorganic world ". Here 
again it is more probable that organic and inorganic 

1 A great part of this letter will be found in a slightly different form on 
pp. 167-168 of this volume. Both versions are printed in order to illustrate 
Hardy's artistic inability to rest content with anything that he wrote until 
he had brought the expression as near to his thought as language would 
allow. He would, for instance, often go on revising his poems for his own 
satisfaction after their publication in book form. F. E. H. 


modulate into each other, one nature and law operating 
throughout. But the most fatal objection to his view of 
creation plus propulsion seems to me to lie in the existence 
of pain. If nature were creative she would have cheated 
painlessness, or be in process of creating it pain being 
the first thing we instinctively fly from. If on the other 
hand we cannot introduce into life what is not already 
there, and are bound to mere recombination of old ma- 
terials, the persistence of pain is intelligible. 

Sincerely yours, 




I did not quite think that The "Dynasts would suit your 
scientific mind, or shall I say the scientific side of your 
mind, so that I am much pleased to hear that you have 
really got pleasure out of it, 

As to my having said nothing or little (I think I did 
just allude to it a long while ago) about having it in hand, 
the explanation is simple enough I did not mean to pub- 
lish Part I by itself until quite a few days before I sent it 
up to the publishers : and to be engaged in a desultory 
way on a MS. which may be finished in 5 years (the date 
at which I thought I might print it, complete) does not 
lead one to say much about it. On my return here from 
London I had a sudden feeling that I should never carry 
the thing any further, so off it went. But now I am rather 
inclined to go on with it. Though I rather wish I had kept 
back the Parts till the whole could be launched, as I at 
first intended. 

What you say about the "Will" is true enough, if you 
take the word in its ordinary sense. But in the lack of 
another word to express precisely what is meant, a second- 
ary sense has gradually arisen, that of effort exercised in a 
reflex or unconscious manner. Another word would have 
been better if one could have had it, though "Power" 
would not do, as power can be suspended or withheld, and 



the forces of nature cannot : Howeve^ there are inconsist- 
encies in the Phantoms, no doubt. But that was a point 
to which I was somewhat indifferent, since they are not 
supposed to be more than the best human intelligence of 
their time (see p. viii) in a sort of quintessential form. I 
speak of the "Years". The "Pities" are, of course, 
merely Humanity, with all its weaknesses. 

You speak of Meredith. I am sorry to learn that he 
has been so seriously ill. Leslie Stephen gone, too ! They 
are thinning out ahead of us. I have just lost an old friend 
down here, of 47 years standing ! a man whose opinions 
differed almost entirely from my own on most subjects : 
and yet he was a good and sincere friend the brother of 
the present Bp. of Durham, and like him in old fashioned 
views of the Evangelical school. 

I hope Aldeburgh keeps you blooming, and am 
Sincerely yours, 



New Year's Eve, 1907 

I write a line to thank you for that nice little copy of 
Munro 's Lucretius, and to wish you a happy New Year. 
I am familiar with two translations of the poet, but not 
with this one, so the book is not wasted. 

I have been thinking what a happy man you must be 
at this time of the year, in having to write your name 
8000 times. Nobody wants me to write mine once ! 

In two or three days I shall have done with the proofs 
of Dynasts III. It is well that the business should be over, 
for I have been living in Wellington's campaigns so much 
lately that, like George IV, I am almost positive that I 
took part in the battle of Waterloo, and have written of it 
from memory. 


What new side of science are you writing about at 
present ? 

Yours sincerely, 



I must send a line or two in answer to your letter. 
What you remind me of the lyrical account of the fauna 
of Waterloo field on the eve of the battle is, curiously 
enough, the page (p. 282) that struck me,, in looking back 
over the book, as being the most original in it. Though, 
of course, a thing may be original without being good. 
However, it does happen that (so far as I know) in the 
many treatments of Waterloo in literature, those particu- 
lar personages who were present have never been alluded 
to before. 

Yes : I left off on a note of hope. It was just as well 
that the Pities should have the last word, since, like Para- 
dise Lost, The Dynasts proves nothing. * 
Always yours sincerely, 


P.S. The idea of the Unconscious Will becoming 
conscious with flux of time, is also new, I think, whatever 
it may be worth. At any rate I have never met with it 
anywhere. T. H. 


28 :8:I9I4. 

I fear we cannot take advantage of your kind invita- 
tion, and pay you a visit just now much as in some 
respects we should like to. With the Germans (apparently) 
only a week from Paris, the native hue of resolution is 


sicklied o 'er with the pale cast of thought. We shall hope 
to come when things look brighter. 

Trifling incidents here bring home to us the condition 
of affairs not far off as I daresay they do to you still 
more sentries with gleaming bayonets at unexpected 
places as we motor along, the steady flow of soldiers 
through here toWeymouth, and their disappearance across 
the Channel in the silence of night, and the 1000 prisoners 
whom we get glimpses of through chinks, mark these fine 
days. The prisoners, they say, have already mustered 
enough broken English to say " Shoot Kaiser ! "and oblige 
us by playing "God Save the King" on their concertinas 
and fiddles. Whether this is "meant sarcastic", as 
Artemus Ward used to say, I cannot tell. 

I was pleased to know that you were so comfortable, 
when I was picturing you in your shirt sleeves with a lot 
of other robust Aldeburghers digging a huge trench from 
Aldeburgh church to the top of those steps we go down to 
your house, streaming with sweat, and drinking pots of 
beer between the shovellings (English beer of course). 

Sincerely yours, 


P.S. Yes : everybody seems to be reading The Dy- 
nasts just now at least, so a writer in the Daily News 
who called here this morning tells me. T. H. 


"Abbey Mason, The" (poem), 151 

Abbotsbury, 164 

Abercorn, Duchess of, 6 

Aberdeen University, 108-10 

"Absolute Explains, The" (poem), 

Academy and Literature^ the, 96-8, 

"According to the Mighty Work- 
ing" (poem), 190 

Adelphi Terrace (No. 8), n 

Aerial warfare, protest against 
(1911), 149 

Agricultural labourers of Dorset- 
shire, Hardy on, 93-6 

Aide", Hamilton, 21 

Aldeburgh, Suffolk, 113-14, 138, 

*39> I43> 276 
Alexandra, Queen, 139 
Allbutt, Sir Clifford, 18, 126, 133, 158 
Allen, Grant, 30 
Allhusen, Elizabeth, 229 
Allhusen, Henry, 53 
Allhusen, Mrs. Henry, 187, 229 
Almack's (Willis's Rooms), 43-4 
American fleet at Portland, 147 
American National Red Cross 

Society, 86 
"And there was a great calm" 

(poem), 214-15 
"Apology" (preface to Late Lyrics 

and Earlier)^ 122, 177, 208, 225 
"Appeal to America, An" (poem), 

Armistice poem, 1920 ("And there 

was a great calm"), 214-15 
Ashlej Gardens, Westminster, 36 
Asquith, Anthony, 239 
Asquith, H. H., 108, 152, 157 
Asquith, Mrs., 33, 157 
Astor, Mr., 30 
"At Mayfair Lodgings" (poem), 35 

"At the Entering of the New 

Year" (poem), 220 
Athelhampton Hall, 161 
Athenceum, the, 108, 190, 220 
Austin, Alfred, 138 
Austria, Empress of, 70 
Axminster, 164 

Baldwin, Stanley, 267 

Balfour, A. J., 6, 17, 26, in, 152, 

Balfour, Colonel Eustace, 119-20 

Balfpur, Miss, 6, 152 

Balliol Players, the, at Max Gate, 
238-9, 247-8, 254 

Bankes, Mrs., 249 

Barnes, William, 131 

Barnes Theatre, Tess at the, 242; 
The Mayor of Casterbridge at the, 

Barrie, J. M., 20, 21, 123, 163, 174, 
177-8, 190, 192, 211, 213, 221, 
225, 265, 267 

Barrie, Mrs. J. M., 123 

"Barthelemon at Vauxhall" (son- 
net), 224 

Basingstoke, 66 

B as tow, Henry Robert, 262 

Bath, 54, ico, 257 ; the Abbev, 148 

Bayard, T. F. (American Ambassa- 
dor), 59 

Beerbohm, Max, 138, 231; Mrs., 

"Belgian Expatriation, On the" 
(sonnet), 164 

Bennett, Arnold, 163 

Benson, A. C., 157, 159, 163, 177 

Benson, Monsignor H., 163 

Beresford, Miss, 18 

Bergerat, Emile, 148 

Bergson, Hardy on, 1667, 269, 




Bernard, Dr., Archbishop of Dub- 
lin, 191, 192 
Berne, 67 

Bernhardt, Sarah, 33, 88-9 
Bicycling, Hardy's, 83-4, 86, 100, 

^107, 121, 12% 143, 227 

Birmingham, 150 

Birr ell, Augustine, 212 

Blanche, Jacques, 119, 123 

Blanche, Mme. J., 123 

Blandford, 157-8, 191 

Blomfield, Sir Arthur, 10-11, 21, 

37, 84, 160, 185, 210 
Blomfield Court, Maida Vale, 142 
Blunden, Edmund, 227 
Bockhampton, 28, 198-200, 215, 

221, 226, 243, 249, 260, 261, 262, 

Book of Homage to Shakespeare, A, 


Boscastle, 156, 172 
Boughton, Rutland, 237-8, 239 
Bradley, Miss, 83 
Braille type, portions of Hardy's 

works in, 157 
"Bride-Night Fire, The" (poem), 


Bridges, Dr. Robert, 133, 163, 203 
Bridport, 164, 169, 172 
Brighton, visit to, 47 
Bristol, 100; Cathedral, 148; Uni- 
versity confers degree on Hardy, 

British Museum, the, 74, 85, 107, 

1 20, 150 

Broadwindsor, 164 
Brooke, Rupert, 133 
Bruges, visit to, 54-5 
Brussels, visits to, 55, 56-7 
Bryce, Lord, 211 
Buller, Sir Redvers, 28-9 
Bunty Pulls the Strings, 152, 153 
Bury, Professor, 109, 143, 159; 

Mrs., 159 

Butcher, S. H., 133 
Butler, Dr. (Master of Trinity), 

TII, 157 
Butler, Mrs., 157 

"Call to National Service, A" 

(poem), 175 
Cambridge, visits to, 121, 133, 159- 

160; University confers hon. 

degree on Hardy, 156-7 

Cambridge Magazine, the, 167 
Cambridge Review, the, 158 
Camelford, 172 

Campbell, Mrs. Patrick, 33, 43 
Canadian Bookman, the, 191 
Canterbury Cathedral, 121 
Capital punishment, Hardy on, 100 
Carlisle Cathedral, 14(8 
Carnarvon, Lady, 31 
Carnegie, Mr., 120 
Carr, Comyns, 140 
"Casterbridge" and Dorchester, 144 
Cavendish, Lady Dorothy, 211 
Cervesato, Dr. Arnaldo, letter to, 

Chamberlain, Joseph, 47; Mrs., 12, 


"Channel Firing" (poem), 161-2 
Charborough Park, 35-6, 259 
Chattaway, Dr., 232 
Chester Cathedral, 149 
Chichester Cathedral, 139 
Child, Harold, 235 
Choate, J. H. (American Ambassa- 
dor), in 

Christian, Princess, 31 
Christie's, Red Cross sales at, 167, 

171, 186 

"Christmas Ghost Story, A", 84 
"Christmas in the Elgin Room** 

(poem), 264 
"Christminster", not Oxford, 49- 

50, 249 
Church of England, Hardy's feeling 

for the, 176-7, 225, 246-7 
Clarendon Press, the, 131 
CKffe, A. L., 239 
Clodd, Edward, 30, 86, 104-5, i*3> 


Cockerell, Mrs., 159 
Cockerell, Sydney, 149-50, 157, 

ic 9 , 174, 187 

Colbourne, Maurice, 196-7 
Coleridge, Lord, 14 
Collected Poems, 194, 198 
Collins, Lottie, 7 
"Compassion" (poem), 238 
Conrad, Josep ( h, 124 
"Convergence of the Twain, The" 

(poem), 151 

Corbin, Christopher, 268 
Cornhill Magazine, the, 84, 101, 

108, 1 86 
Cosmopolis, 41, 43 



Courtney, W. L., 175 

Coutts, Francis (Lord Latymer), 


Crabbe, 113^14 
Crackanthorpe, Mr, and Mrs. 

Montagu, 46 
Craigie, Mrs. ("John Oliver 

Hobbes"), 21, 25-6, 32, 120, 132 
Crich ton-Browne, Sir James, 18, 

24-5, 126, 190 
Criticism, Hardy on literary, 183, 

184, 208 

"Cross-in-Hand", 164 
Curzon, Lord, 26, 29, 132 

Daily Chronicle, the, 84 

Daily News, the, 276 

Daily Telegraph, the, 120 

"Darkling Thrush, The" (poem), 

Darling, Mr. Justice, 195 

Dawson of Penn, Lord, 237 

"Dead and the Living One, The" 
(poem>, 171 

"Dead Drummer, The" (poem), 

"Dead Wessex, the dog to the 
household" (poem), 251-2 

de Grey, Lady, 33 

de la Mare, Walter, 223, 230, 260, 
265; Mrs., 230 

d'Erlanger, Baron F., 139 

de Robeck, Sir John and Lady, 231 

de Ros, Lady, 19 

Desperate Remedies, 228; drama- 
tised, 203, 207 

Desspir, Dr. Max, 139 

Destinn, Mme., 139 

Devonshire, 8th Duke of, 26; 9th 
Duke, 211 

Diamond Jubilee, the, 66, 67 

Disarmament, Hardy on inter- 
national, 219 

"Distracted Preacher, The" (story 
dramatised), 150 

Dobson, Austin, 13 

Donald, Robert, letter to, 131-2 

Donaldson, Dr., 156 

Donaldson, Lady Albinia, 156-7 

"Doom and She" (poem), 91 

Dorchester, 8-9, 22, 98-9, 143-7, 
173, 174, 184, 187, 203, 207, 215, 
223, 224, 236, 240, 268, 275-6 

Dorchester Debating and Dramatic 

Society, the, 131, 140, 147, 150, 
Dorchester Grammar School, 134, 

^230, 246, 254-5, 258 

(tune), 127 

"Dorchester Hornpipe, The" 

\>uui,/, j.^/ 

Dorset County Hospital, 224 
Dorset County Museum, 160 
Dorset Daily Chronicle, the, 98-9 
Dorsetshire, Hardy on agricultural 

labourers of, 93-6 
Dorsetshire Regiment, marching 

tune for, 127 
Douglas, Frank, 187-8 
Douglas, Sir George, 24, 83, 187-8, 

197-8 ^ 

Dover, visit to, 54 
Drinkwater, John, 248 
"Drummer Hodge" ("The Dead 

Drummer"), 84 
Dublin, visit to, 18-20 
Dufferin, Lord, 25 
Dundas, Mr. (A.D.C. at Dublin, 

1893), *9 
Durham, Bishop of (Dr. Moule), 

106, 193-4* 211-12 

Durham Cathedral, 139 

Duse, Eleanora, 22, 33 

Dynasts, The, 25, 56-7, 91, 100, 101, 
103-5, io7, 114, "7, 120, 121, 
123, 124-6, 127, 127-8, 135, 150, 
*57> i?i, 175, 194, 217, 222, 226- 
227, 228, 269770, 274-5, 276; 
dramatic versions, 131, 135; 
Granville-Barker, 104-5, 1 72, 204; 
Wessex Scenes, 171-2; O.U.D.S., 
196-7, 201-5 

Edinburgh, 139 

Edinburgh Rffiew, the, 153 

Edward VIE; King, 126, 142 

"Egdon Heath", 17, 238, 256 

Eighty Club, the, 49 

Eliot, Mrs. R., 23 

Elton, Godfrey, 232-4 

Ely Cathedral, 120 

Empire Music-Hall, the, 14 

"England to Germany" (poem), 164 

English Review, the, I 27 

Ermitage, L* (of Paris), 23 

Ervine, St. John, 221 

Europeen L\ 101 

Evans, A. H., 140, 150 

Exeter, 214; Cathedral, 149, 169 


Famous Tragedy of the &ueen of 

Cornwall^ The, 230, 235-6, 237, 

Far from the Madding Crowd, 75, 

1 86; dramatised, 140 
Farrer, A. A., 239 
Faucit, Miss Helen, 126 
Fawley, Berks. ("Mary green"), 231 
"Fiddler of the Reels, The" (short 

story), 15 

Fielding, Hardy on 74 , 

"Fire at Tranter Sweatley s, The 

(poem), 80 

Fisher, Admiral W. W., 231 
Fiske,Mr., 59 f _ j 

Fitzgerald, Sir Gerald and Lady, 21 
Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, 

149, 150 
"Five Students, The" (poem), aii- 


Flower, Newman, 237 

Forbes-Robertson, J., 43 

Fordington, 194 

Forster, E. M., 227 

Fortnightly Review, the, 121, 147, 

148, 161, 175, 252 
France, Anatole, 159 
Franggon-Davies, Gwen, 240, 244 
Frazer, Sir James, 143 

Galsworthy, John, 163, 212, 230, 

258, 267 

Galsworthy, Mrs. John, 258 
Gardner, Lady Winifred, 16 
Garrick Theatre, Tess at the, 242, 


Gautier, Th6ophile, 148 
General Blind Association, 157 
Geneva, 70, 71 
George, Lieut. F., 261 
George V., King, 22, 143, 148, 212, 

"Georgian poets", Hardy on the, 

German editors, meeting with 

(1906), 120 

German prisoners, visit to, 173 
Gibbon, 67-9 

Gifford, Evelyn, 202-3, 214 
Gilder, Miss Jeannette, 50-2 
Glasgow University, Hardy asked 

to stand for Lord Rectorship of, 

Glasgow University Liberal Club, 47 

"Glass-stainer, The" (poem), 26 
Glastonbury, 108, 239 
Gloucester Cathedral, 150-1 
Godley, A. D., 201-2 
"God*s Funeral" (poem), 147 
"Going of the Battery, The" 

(poem), 84 
Golden Treasury series, the, 173, 


Gorky, Maxim, 124 
Gorky, Mme. Maxim, 124 
Goschen, G. J. (Lord Goschen), 6 
Gosse, Sir Edmund, 13, 108, 190, 


Graham, Lady Cynthia, 26, 33 
Granville-Barker, H., 164-5, 172, 

204, 211, 231, 239, 252, 253-4, 269 
Granville-Barker, Mrs., 231, 239, 


Graphic, the, 84 
Great Fawley, Berks., 13 
Greer, Mrs,, 18 
Grieg, Dr., 118 
Grove, Mrs. (Lady), 38, 53 
Guinness's Brewery, visit to, 19-20 

Haggard, Rider, letter to, 93-6 
Halsey, Admiral Sir Lionel, 234 
Hamilton Terrace (No. 70), 16, 22 
Hanbury, Cecil, 222, 224, 249 
Hanbury, Mrs. John, 33 
Harcourt, Lewis, 25 
Hardy, Mrs. Emma Lavinia, 6, 12, 
1 8, 19, 20, 25, 32, 33, 46, 47, 49, 
52-3, 56-7, 66, 69, 70, 7*> 72, 74> 
84, 85, 86, 89, 113, 119, 123, 132, 
139, 147, 151, 153-5, i?3, i 9 , 
229, 231, 237, 262, 267; her Re- 
collections, 151, 155 
Hardy, Mrs. F. E., 147, 159, 164, 
168, 169-70, 171, 172, 173, 177, 
178, 191, 192, 195, *97> 20I > 202 > 
203, 204, 205, 206, 208-9, 209-10, 

211, 213-14, 222, 227, 229, 231, 
232, 233, 237, 2 4 0, 2 4 I, 242, 243, 
245, 249, 250, 253, 264, 265, 266, 

Hardy, Mrs. (grandmother), 54 
Hardy, Henry (brother), 9-10, 74, 

101-2, I20-I, 148, 170, 227, 230, 

260-1, 268 
Hardy, Mrs. Jemima (mother), 

10, ii, 53> 73, 89-90, 106, 231, 




Hardy, Katherine (sister), 89, 101- 
102, 149, 172, 191, 2", 227, 230, 
231, 261, 267 

Hardy, Mary (sister), 8, 12, 89, 101- 
102, 106, 133, 151, 170, 212, 231, 
236, 245, 262 

Hardy, Admiral Sir Thomas (cap- 
tain of Victory)^ 112, 114, 114 #., 

Hardy, Thomas, of Melcombe 
Regis (d. 1599), 134, 254-6 

Hardy, Thomas (father), 8-9, 9-10, 

12, 13, 1 8, 101-2, 106, 197, 231, 

Hardy, Thomas (grandfather), 10, 

13, 101-2 

Hardy Dictionary , A> 150 

Hardy Players, the, 171-2, 207, 

222-3, 236, 2 37> 240 
Harper, Henry, 34 
Harper's Magazine ', 30, 142, 151 
Harrison, Frederic, 80, 158 
Hawkins, Anthony Hope, 163, 212 
Hawkins, Sir Henry, 14 
"He abjures love" (poem), 218 
"He views himself as an auto- 
maton" (poem), 26 
Head, Sir Henry, 264 
Head, Mary (grandmother of 

Hardy), 231 

Henniker, General, 34, 151 
Henniker, Mrs. Arthur (Florence), 

1 8, 19, 20, 21, 27, 150, 191-2, 

214, 227, 230 

Hereford Cathedral, 23, 148 
Herkomer, Sir Hubert, 133 
Newlett, Maurice, 88, 138 
Hicks, Mr., of Dorchester, 262 
Higginson, Colonel T. W., 71-2 
Hind, Arthur M., 247 
"His Country" (poem), 162 
"His Education" (poem), 217 
Ho are, Sir Henry and Lady, 160, 


Hoist, Gustav, 256 
Honours for men of letters, Hardy 

on, 114-15 

Horses in war, Hardy on, 81 
Hospital, visit to wounded in, 173 
Houghton, Lord, 18, 19 
House of Commons, tea on the 

Terrace at, 36 
Housman, A. E., 82, 86, 
How, Bishop, 49 n. 

158, 268 

Howard, Hubert, 25 
Hugo, Victor, 92 
Human Shows> 224, 242 
Humanitarian League, letter to the, 

Hyde Park Mansions, no, 117, 

123, 126 
Hymns, "familiar and favourite", 

45 ; Latin, 85-6 
Hyndman, Mr. and Mrs., 187 

Ibsen, 20-i, 66 

"If a madness 'tis to weepe" (old 

epitaph), 126 
Ilchester, Lady, 187 
Ilminster, 257-8 
"Imaginative Woman, An" (short 

story), 26 

Imperial Institute, the, 52-3, 66, 74 
"In Memoriam, F. T." (poem), 237 
"In the Garden" (poem), 170 
"In Time of 'the Breaking of 

Nations'" (poem), 171, 178 
Institute of Journalists, visit from 

200 members of, 112-13 
InterTakea, 67 
Interviewers, 113 
Irving, Sir Henry, 22, in 

ackson, Henry, 157 
ames, Dr., 159 

ames, Henry, 7-8, 46, 138, 167-8 
,'ekyll, Mrs., 19 
Jeune, Sir Francis, 5, 7, 14, 25, 36, 

59, 1 10 

Jeune, Lady, 7, 14, 20, 22, 25, 26 
36, 53 ; see also St. Helier, Lady 
John, Augustus, 253 
Jones, Miss (of Girton), 160 
Jude the Obscure, 30, 37, 38~43> 44, 
46, 48, 49-52, 73, 112, 150, 196, 
205, 206, 231, 233, 248-9 

Kean, Edmund, Hardy on, 98-9 

Keats, 210, 221-2 

Kenilworth, visit to, 53 

Key, Rev. S. Whittell, letter to, 


Killarney, visit to, 20 
King Albert's Book, 164 
"King's Soliloquy on the Night of 

his Funeral, A" (poem), 142 
Kingston Maurward, 224, 240 
Kipling, Rudyard, 72, 268 



Knights, the, connections of 
Hardy's family, 10, 221 

"Lacking Sense, The" (poem), 91 
Lake Country, visit to the, 148-9 
Lancers, the, danced at Hardy's 

request, 224 

Land-girls, Hardy on the, 183 
Lane, John, 107, 157-8, 213 
Lang, Principal Marshall, 109 
Lankester, Ray, 18, 34 
Lansdowne, Lord, 29 
Last, I. G., 149 
Last, W. J., 149 
"Last Performance, The" (poem), 

Late Lyrics and Earlier ', 122, 177, 

208, 225 
Lausanne, 67-9 
"Lausanne" (poem), 68-9 
Lawrence, Colonel T. E., 236, 239, 

League of Nations, Hardy on the, 

2I 3. 

Lee, Sir Sidney, in 

Lewis, Sir George, 46 

Lichfield Cathedral, 148 

Liddell, Dr., 22 

Life's Little Ironies, 108 

Lincoln Cathedral, 120 

Literature, 84 

"LittleHintock", 185, 247 

Litwinski, Dr. L., letter to, 175 

Llandudno, 18 

Lock, Dr. Walter, 8 

"Logs on the Heath" (poem), 170 
London, Hardy on, 8, 13; in war- 
time, 163, 177-8 
Londonderry, Lady, 22, 26, 28, 29, 

46, 187 

"Looking Across" (poem), 170, 180 
"Lost Pyx, The" (poem), 164 
Lowell, Miss Amy, 190 
Lucy, Sir Henry, 18, 19 
Ludlow Castle, 24 
Lulworth, legend of Napoleon at, 195 
Lulwprth Castle, 258-9 
Lushington, Vernon, 118 
Lyrics and Reveries, 164 
Lyttelton, Alfred, 26 
Lyttelton, Mrs., 19, 26, 183 

Maartens, Maarten, 21 

McCabe, Joseph, letter to, 209-10 

MacDonald, Ramsay, 267 
Mcllvaine, Mr., 13 
Mackail, J. W., 163 
Macmillan, Sir Frederick, 18 
Macmillan, G. A., 18 
Macmillan, Harold, 211 
Macmillan, Messrs,, 100, 114, 127, 

139, i?3 ? i?8, 225, 242 
MacTaggart, Dr., 73-4, 159; Mrs., 

Maeterlinck's Apology for Nature, 

Hardy on, 96-8 
Magdalene College, Cambridge, 

Hardy's honorary fellowship of, 

157, I5M 
Magic, in 1830, n 
Mahaffy, Mr., 19 
Maitland, Fuller, 158-9 
Malmesbury, Lady, 8, 31, 46 
Malvern, visit to, 53 
Manchester, Consuelo Duchess of, 

22, 23, 26 

Manchester Guardian, the, 246 
Martin, Sir Theodore, 126 
Masefield, John, 163, 203, 224-225, 

2-33* 2 54 

Masefield, Mrs. John, 224, 254 
Masterman, C F. G., 163 
Matterhorn, the, 69 
Max Gate, 10-11, 25, 27, 32, 37, 38, 

89, 112-13, 152, 153, 180, 183, 

207, 213, 220, 221, 225, 230, 234, 
235, 237, 238-9, 2 4 I, 2 4 2, 243-4, 
245, 247-8, 250, 251, 254 

"Mayfair Lodgings, At" (poem), 35 

Mayor of Casterbridge, The, 150, 
157 ; film version, 223 ; dramatised 
by John Drinkwater, 248 

Medico-Psychological Society, 126 

Mellstock Club, the, 198-200 

Mellstock Quire, The (dramatic ver- 
sion of Under the Greenwood 
Tree), 147, 184-5, 222 

"Memories of Church Restora- 
tion" (paper), 119-200 

"Men who March Away" (poem), 
164, 167 

Meredith, George, 30, 37, 83, 105, 

^ i35> I37> 169, 257 

Meyrick, St. John, 19 

Mildmay, Mrs., 25 

Mill, J. S., Hardy on, 118-19 

Milman, General, 21 

Milman, Miss, 21 



Miines-Gaskell, Lady Catherine, 

Minterne, not "Little Hintock", 

Moments of Vision, 35, 170, 171, 
172, 178, 179,211-12 

Monteagle, Lord, 108 

Montrose, Duchess of, 33, 46 

Moore, Dr. G. E., 166 

Morgan, Charles, on Hardy's visit 
to Oxford (1920), etc., 203-9 

Morgan, General J. H., 228-9 

Morley, John (Lord Morley), 18, 
19, 118, 138, 211 

Morning Post, the, 215 

Morris, Sir Lewis, 25 

Moss, Hardy's dog, 251 

Moule, Charles, 159, 189, 211, 221 

Moule, Handley (Bishop of Dur- 
ham), 1 06, 193-4, 211-12 

Moule, Horace, 133, 211-12 

MSS., Hardy's, 149-50, 157 

Murray, Sir Gilbert, 163 

Murray, Sir James, 109, 133, 157 

"Napoleon drama, the" (1892), 9 

Nation , the, 136 

"National Service, A Call to" (son- 
net), 175 

"Nature's Questioning" (poem), 

Nevill, Lady Dorothy, 36 

"New Year's Eve" (poem), 121, 217 

New York Tribune, the, 114 

New York World,, the, 50-51, 171, 

Newbolt, Sir Henry, 147, 152, 163 

Newnes Library, Putney, 157 

Newton, A. E., 186 

Nicolson, Mrs. Malcolm ("Laur- 
ence Hope"), 108 

Nietzsche, Hardy on, 160 

"Night of Trafalgar, The" (poem), 

Nineteenth Century , the, 241 

Niven, Dr., 224 

"Noble Lady's Tale, A" (poem), 

North American Review, the, 100-1 

Novelists, recent, Hardy on, 158 

Noyes, Alfred, 215-18, 219 

Oakshott, Walter, 239 
O'Brien, Lady Susan, 12-13 

Omar Khayyam, 266 

Omar Khayyam Club, the, 37 

"On Sturminster Foot-Bridge" 

(t (poem), 79, 193 

"On the Belgian Expatriation" 

(sonnet), 164 
Order of Merit, conferred on 

Hardy, 142-3 
Ostend, 54, 56, 57 
Ouless, Mr., 224 

"Oxen, The" (poem), MS. of, 171 
Oxford, visits to, 22, 231-4; and 

"Christminster", 49-50, 249; 

University confers D.C.L. on 

Hardy, 201-2, 205 
Oxford University Dramatic So- 
ciety and The Dynasts, 196-7, 201, 


Page, Dr. (American Ambassador), 


Pair 0/ Blue Eyes, A,%\ 
Pathetic Symphony, the (Tchai- 

kowsky), in 
Patmore, Coventry, 81 
Patriotism, Hardy on, 174, 230 
Peacock, Sir Walter, 234 
"Peasant's Confession, The" 

(poem), 74 
Peile, Dr., 133 
Pembroke, Lord, 29 
Pender, Sir John, 18 
Perkins, the Rev. T., 123, 237 
Pessimism, Hardy on, 183 
Petrie, Professor Flinders, 169 
Phillpotts, Mr. and Mrs. Eden, 169 
"Philosophical Fantasy, A" (poem), 


"Pink Frock, The" (poem), 31 
Piracy, in 1919, 195 
Pitt-Rivers, General, 37-8 
Pitt-Rivers, Mrs., 31, 37-8 
Pittsburgh Institute, 120 
Plymouth, 154-5, l $6> *78 
Poe, Edgar Allan, 134 
Poems of the Past and the Present, 

59, 68, 91, 125, 197-8 
Poets and poetry, Hardy on, 58-9, 

78, 80-81, 85, 92, 178, 184, 185, 

1 86, 187, 1 88 
"Poets' Tribute" to Hardy, the, 


Pollock, Sir Frederick, 86, in, 198 
Portisham, 164 



Portraits and busts of Hardy 
(Blanche), 119; (Herkomer), 133; 
(Strang), 143 ; (Maitland), 158-9; 
(Thornycroft), 167, 244; (Ouless), 
224; (Yourievitch), 229; (John), 


Powis, Lady, 33 
Powys, John, 187 
Pretor, Mr., 126 
Priestley, J. B., 257 
Prince of Wales at Max Gate, 234 
Proudfoot, Mr., 234 
Proust, Marcel, 59, 248 
Psalm-tunes, Hardy's selection of 

old, 127 

Puddletown, n, 256 
Pursuit of the Well-Beloved, The, see 

Well-Beloved, The 

Quain, Sir R., 18 
Quarterly Review, the, 7 
jiueen of Cornwall, The Famous 
Tragedy of the (play), 230, 235-6, 

2 37> 2 39 
Queen's College, Oxford, Hardy's 

Fellowship of, 229; visit to, 

Queen's Hall, concerts at, 88, 107, 

Quiller-Couch, Sir A., 159, 190 

"Rabbi Ben Ezra", 265 

Raeburn, Macbeth, illustrator of 
the Wessex novels, 35-6 

Raleigh, Sir Walter and Lady, 201, 
203, 20475, 2 6 

Ramsay, Sir J., 1 1 1 

Ramsay, A. S. (Master of Mag- 
dalene College, Cambridge), 268 

Rationalist Press Association, the, 


Reading, 54 
Reason, Robert (original of "Robert 

Penny"), 198, 242-3 
Reay, Lord, 109 
Red Cross sales, Hardy's gifts to, 

167, 171, 186 
Rehan, Ada, 22 
Reims Cathedral, 164 
Religion, Hardy's views on, 121-2, 

122-3, 175-7 
Return of the Native, The, 172, 205, 

215, 223, 226, 235 
Revue Eleue^ the, 91-2 j 

Rhythm in Hardy's poetry, 78-80 

Richmond Hill, Hardy on, 90 

Rives, Am61ie, 33 

Roberts, Lord, 29, 30 

Robertson, Professor D. A., letter 
to, 185-6 

Robins, Miss Elizabeth, 20 

"Rome: The Vatican: Sala delle 
Muse" (poem), 77 

Rosebery, Lord, 22, 49 

Royal Academy dinners, 131, 159, 
190; private view (1893), 17 

Royal Institute of British Archi- 
tects, 1 60, 210 

Royal Literary Fund, the, 17 

Royal Society, the, 18 

Royal Society for the Prevention of 
Cruelty to Animals, the, 238 

Royal Society of Literature, the, 
152, 174 

Rugby School, visit to, 149 

Russell, Dr. W. H., 33 

St. Albans, Duchess of, 132 
St. George, The Play of, 220 
St. Helier, Lady, 124, 131, 152, 

169, 191, 192, 229, 235; see also 

Jeune, Lady 

St. Juliot, Cornwall, 155, 156, 172 
St. Paul's Cathedral, 107 
St. Saviour's, Southward, 37 
Saleeby, Dr. C W., letters to, 

166-7, 269-73 

Salisbury, Bishop of (1919), 192 
Salisbury Cathedral, 71, 191, 231 
Salisbury, Lord, (1892), 6 
Sargent, John, 157 
Sassoon, Siegfried, 193, 227, 239, 

244-5, 254 
"Satires in Fifteen Glimpses", see 

Satires of Circumstance 
Satires of Circumstance, Lyrics and 

Reveries, 148, 164 
Saturday Review, the, 70-1 
Savile Club, the, 17, 34 
Saxelby, F., 150 
Scenery, "the best", 71 
"Schreckhorn, The" (poem), 67 
Scott, Sir Gilbert, 210 
Scribner, Messrs., 15 
Seaman, Sir Owen, 163 
Selected Poems of Thomas Hardy 

(Golden Treasury), 173, 258 
Selous, F. C., 29 



Shaftesbury, Lady, 183 
Shaftesbury, Lord, 234 
Shakespeare, Hardy on, 53-4, 187-8, 

"Shakespeare after Three Hundred 

Years, To" (poem), 171, 198 
Shakespeare Memorial Committee, 

the, 112, 131-2 

Shaw, G. B., 123, 124, 236, 268 
Shaw, Mrs. G. B., 123, 236 
Sherborne, 227 
Sheridan, Mrs. A. Brinsley, 25, 


Shipley, Dr., 108 
"Sick Battle-God, The" (poem), 

162, 165 
Silchester, 66 

"Singer Asleep, A" (poem), 141 
Slater, John, 160, 210 
"Sleep-worker, The" (poem), 91 
Smith, Bosworth, 12, 1 8, 133 
Smith, Sir Charles Euan, 22 
Smith, Rev. J. Alexander, letter to, 


Smith, L. Pearsall, 240-1 
Smith, Canon R., 12 
Smith, Reginald, 126 
Smith, W. F. D., 48 
Smyth, Dame Ethel, 261 
Society for the Protection of Ancient 

Buildings, 119-20 
Society of Authors, the, 137-8, 

214, 265 
Society of Dorset Men, the, 127, 

131, 140, 208,241 
Somersetshire, visit to, 149 
Songs, old Dorset, 34-5 
"Songs of Five-and-Twenty Years" 

(projected volume, 1892), 3 
"Souls of the Slain, The" (poem), 


South African War, the, 84, 92 
Spa, visit to, 56 
Spectator, the, 228 
"Spectre of the Real, The" (story), 


Spencer, Lady, 33 
Speyer, Charles A., 219-20 
Sphere, the, 171 

Sports, field, Hardy on, 106-7 
Stanley, Miss Dorothy, 53 
Stead, W. T., 45, 81 
Stephen, Leslie, 67, 75, 83, 88, 105, 


Stephen, Mr. (of the N.W.R.), 25 

Stepniak, 22 

Stevens, Alfred, 157-8 

Stevenson, R. L., 7-8 

Stinsford, 10, 12, 28, 101-2, 106, 

I47> 155, 156, 169, I73> 180, 221, 

223, 224, 225, 226, 237, 242, 260, 

261, 267, 268 
Stonehenge, 72 
Stracey, Lady, 25 
Strang, William, 143 
Strangways, Lady Susan, 12-13 
Stratford-on-Avon, visit to, 53-4 
Strauss, Edouard, 66 
Stuart-Wortleys, the, 172 
"Sturminster Foot-Bridge, On" 

(poem), 79, 193 
Sturminster Newton, 172, 222, 225, 


Suffragists, 123 
"Sunday Morning Tragedy, A" 

(poem), 127 
Swanage, 133, 172; "the King of", 


Swetman (great-grandfather), 58 
Swinburne, A. C., 39-40, 41, 60, 

82-3, in-12, 136-7, 138, 141, 

157, 183; Hardy on, 135-6 
Switzerland, visit to, 66-70 

Talbothays, see Hardy, Henry 

Teck, Duke and Duchess of, 16-17 

Teck, Princess May of (Queen 
Mary), 16, 22 

Tennant, Sir Charles, 49 

Tennyson's funeral, 13 

Terry, Ellen, 33 

Tess of the d'Urbervilles, 3-8, 17, 25, 
26, 32-3, 44-5, 50, 59, 86-7, 150; 
opera, 139, 143; Hardy's own 
dramatic version, 208, 240, 242, 

"Then and Now" (poem), 177 

Thomas, Sir Godfrey, 234 

Thompson, Sir Henry, 36 

Thompson, Lady, 117 

Thomson, Miss Winifred, 36 

Thornton, Douglas, 169 

Thorny croft, Sir Hamo, 86, 167, 

Thornycroft, Lady, 244 

"Three Wayfarers, The" (dramatic 
version of "The Three Stran- 
gers"), 20, 150 



Thring, G. Herbert, letter to, 214 

Tilley, Mr,, 215 

Time's^ Laughingstock*, 121, 137, 

139, 140, 217 
Times, The, 104, 107, 118-19, 135-6, 

137, 149, 164, 177, 203, 214, 224, 

229, 237, 238, 242, 264 
Tintagel, 172-3; Hardy's drawing 

of, 230 

Titantic disaster, the, 151 
"To C. F. H." (poem), 224 
"To My Father's Violin" (poem), 

"To Shakespeare" (poem), 171, 


"To the Matterhorn" (poem), 69 
Tolstoy, 22, 45, 107 
Toole, J. L., 21-2 
"Trampwoman's Tragedy, A" 

(poem), 92-3, loo-i 
Trevelyan, G. M., 163 
Trevelyan^ Mr., 18 
Treves, Sir Frederick, 126, 169, 

187, 236-7 

Treves, Lady, 126, 169 
Trumpet-Major, The, 157, 227; 

dramatised, 154; Hardy's draw- 
ing for first edition, 190 
Two on a Tower, 35, 259 
Tyndale, Walter, 112 

"Unborn, The" (poem), 218 
Under the Greenwood Tree, 198, 

243 ; dramatised, 147 
"Unkindly May, An" (poem), 263 

Vincent, Sir Edgar, 108 
Virginia, University of, 134 
Vivisection, Hardy on, 138-9 
"Voices from Things growing in a 

Country Churchyard" (poem), 

Vreeland, Admiral (of the U.S. 

Navy), 147 

Wade-Gery, H. T., 239 
Wagner, Hardy on, 117, 118 
Wakefield, Bishop of, and Jude, 48- 

Wales, the Prince of, at Max Gate, 

Walker, Dr. E. M. (Pro-Provost of 

Queen's College, Oxford), 268 
War, Hardy on, 81, 107 , 

War propaganda, conference of 
literary men on (Sept. 1914), 163 

Ward, Humphry, 18 

Ward, Leslie, 7 

Warwick, visit to, 53 

Warwick, Lord, 53 

Waterloo, visit to, 56-7 

Watkins, William, 241 

Watson, Sir William, 13, 107 

Watts-Dun ton, T., 13, in 

"Weatherbury" (Puddletown), n 

Weld, H. J., 258-9 

Well-Beloved, The, 59-61, 108, 248 

Wells, H. G., 124, 163 

Wells Cathedral, 71 

Wenlock, Lady, 24 

Wessex (Hardy's dog), 241, 250-2 

"Wessex Poems", 58, 75, 76-81, 91 ; 
illustrated MS. of, 150 

Wessex Scenes from "The Dynasts", 

Wessex Society of Manchester, 
motto for, 127 

West Central Hotel, the, 152 

Westminster Abbey, midnight visit 
to, 83 ; Hardy's funeral in, 267-8 

Westminster Cathedral, 36 

Westminster Gazette, the, 84 

Weymouth, 153, i?4> 240, 248, 275 

Weymouth, Mass., 248 

"When I set out for Lyonnesse" 
(poem), set to music, 219-20 

Whetham, Dampier, 185 

Whibley, Charles, 17, 161 
Whibley, Mrs. Charles, 161 
Whitefriars Club, the, at Max Gate, 


Whiteing, Richard, 124 
Whymper, Edward, 30-1 
Wilberforce, Dr., 118 
Williamson, Henry, 260 
Wilson, Mr., 234 
Wimborne, fragment of poem on 

the Avenue at, 187 
Winter Words, 203 
Wireless, 240, 245, 261 
Wolff, Sir H. Drummond, 36 
Wolseley, Lord, 19 
Women Writers' Club, 31 
Woodlanders, The, 151-2, 185, 227, 

247; dramatised, 159 
Woodygates Inn, 191 
Woolbridge Manor-House, 17 
Worcester Cathedral, 53, 148 

Wordsworth's grave, Hardy on, 149 
Wright, Edward, letter to, 124-5 
Wright, Dr. Hagberg, 124 
Wyndham, Charles, 16 
Wynnstay Gardens, Kensington, 

Yarborough, Marcia Lady, 31, 33 
Yeatman, Dr. (Bishop of South- 
war k), 12 
Yeats, W. B,, 152 


Yeovil, 258 


York Minster, 139 
"Young Man's Epigram on Exist- 
ence, A" (poem), 217 
YourieVitch, Serge, 239 
Ysaye, 88 

Zangwill, Israel, letter to, 115-16 

Zermatt, 69, 70 

Zionism, Hardy on, 115-16, 190